American Life in Poetry: Column 574
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom,
breezy, floral, dancing with color
soft, silky, flows as I walk
Easter Sunday and you always liked
to get dressed, go for brunch, "maybe
there's a good movie playing somewhere?"
Wrong religion, we were not church-goers,
but New Yorkers who understood the value
of a parade down 5th Avenue, bonnets
in lavender, powder blues, pinks, hues
of spring, the hope it would bring.
We had no religion but we did have
noodle kugel, grandparents, dads
who could fix fans, reach the china
on the top shelf, carve the turkey.
That time has passed. You were the last
to go, mom, and I still feel bad I never
got dressed up for you like you wanted me to.
I had things, things to do. But today in L.A.—
hot the way you liked it—those little birds
you loved to see flitting from tree to tree—
just saw one, a twig in its mouth, preparing
a bed for its baby—might still be an egg,
I wish you were here. I've got a closet filled
with dresses I need to show you.
We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.