Mom Gets In One of My Poems

By Martin Steingesser

“I thought I missed you, darling,” she is saying on the phone.

“No, you woke me. It’s 7:30.”

“Oh-” she says, and then,

after a pause, “I didn’t want to miss you.”


How she won’t be denied, how

I resist. Ninety-two, she’s the kind

of goodness brings trouble, the powerful

voice calling me in


evenings when I was a boy.

Maybe now it’s her way

to know she is okay.

Yesterday she called four times


for help with the date, days of the week

refusing to stay in their places.

“It’s Saturday,” she says, a questioning in her voice, adding,

“I’m so confused, it’s embarrassing.”


I can see her calendar: she’s crossed off Friday

and forgotten, now maybe Saturday, too.

“I’m sorry, I cause so much trouble,” she says, starting to cry.

“It’s okay, Ma, I mix up days, too.


Last week,” I tell her,

“I drove to the wrong job.”

Suddenly she laughs,

and I know it’s okay, for the moment

neither hearing the powerful voice.



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