lydia craig

Sometimes, my golden headed mother

Sometimes, my golden headed mother woke

At noon, but mostly much, much later.

We paused at play, or lowered shredded wheat

From plastic spoons

To hear her steps and measure

Weight and gait, the silence

In the bathroom, and suppose

Who she would be today.


One by one she kicked

Two plastic bags down

Step by step

Filled with tissue, trash,

Her morning entrance;

Face lowered, flushed

And sweet with sleep,

Framed with straggling strands,

A brusque young girl,

Awoke to children

Somehow come out of her.


The cereal boxes she’d enlist

To build a bowl just like a nest,

Oat bran, corn flakes, and Chex,

Granola, raisins, more,

Slicing bananas with her thumb

Against the blade,

Pouring milk with heavy sigh

Until the mound was flooded.

Crunch, crunch, she’d chew her cud

And mull over her wrongs

In every bite.

Call us to sit after she slurped,

A glass of orange juice,

A cup of tea with heaping sugar,

Bring out and part the thick black book,

And rain down godly fire through doleful words.


Or down the staircase she would slide,

Strike poses, laughing, while she swooped,

Crying out good morning as she impacted

With a tiny end-stopped thud.

Watch this, watch this, and she would send

A vicious glance behind at him who wooed,

The hunchbacked king who killed her love,

And Lady Anne would mount the steps

Calling invectives down upon his head

Before succumbing to his golden tongue and gold.

I played this once, she whispered, scooping us into her arms,

Again our own, our golden headed mother.

They clapped for me. They knew it,

Knew that I was her.

She’d say, she made a choice that day,

She made a choice.

And smile and dance outside the kitchen door.