Tag Archives: regret

Now

The childless mother
wants to be alone on Mother’s Day
to stare out the window
into the world she no longer shares
with the little boy, who long ago,
brought her glistening dandelions
bursting from his little brown hand
and decorated her hair
with the yellow joy of life—
treasures collected after a storm
turned the earth to mud.
That day wasn’t Mother’s Day—
but it’s the one she remembers
on the second Sunday each May
when she’d give anything to go back
and withdraw the reprimand
for the traces of mud he left
on his way to make her smile.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
5-9-16

Priorities

Things should be done
in order of importance
which means I should exit this room
and enter a state of reflection
before picking up the phone
to offer my condolences
on the death of a certain someone.
After that dreaded
and obligatory task
I should make a few more
phone calls that reinforce my love
to those too far away
to invite to dinner
or to drop in on unexpectedly
on a Sunday afternoon.
But things are never done
in the order of their importance
which is why I’ll just sit here a little longer
watching the sky darken
and descend into shadow
before I go to bed.
I want to cross something simple
off my list, which keeps getting longer
the longer I stare at this page.
The houseplants, for days,
have been thirsty.
They are still alive
and I watch them bow to my power.
The watering can is patient
in the mud sink.
There’s no reason in the world
I can’t fill the goddamn thing with water,
and restore the wilting leaves—
except that it reminds me
how easy it would have been
to make a phone call last week
to someone who will never again
be picking up the phone.

DeMaris Gaunt
8-23-15

Hypothetical Emergency

Turn around.
Go back.
Rewind the tape
and edit everything
you said to make it
sound just right.
It’s what you’d do
if you didn’t have
so many other
things you needed
to accomplish—
like going to sleep
and waking up or
taking a long hot bath
or finishing off
the strawberry
ice cream
that you almost
forgot was in the
freezer
buried under
the box of frozen
eggrolls and the 10lb.
pork loin that could
send you to the ER
if it slid out and
crushed your big toe—
and the cheerful
young nurse
would stitch you up
while the doctor wrote
you an unrefillable
prescription
for the pain—
as if they’d taken care
of your most critical
emergency.

DeMaris Gaunt
6-30-15

Risks

We don’t take them
like we used to
like we planned to
like we promised ourselves
we would when we were
young and brave
and much more beautiful
than we thought we were.
Risks were never quite
as life or death
as they are now in this
losable house that is paid for,
in this blue room
with darker blue curtains
which keep out the sun
and its daily promise
of bright happy endings.
I cannot write the letter
that I’ve meant to write
for twenty years
because I don’t know
what kind of audience
will be standing around
in the kitchen
when the mail is dumped
onto the table, or who might
follow you with curiosity
when you exit the room
holding the envelope
with both our names
handwritten on the front.
Wouldn’t I risk upsetting
your contentment
with an account of our love
and our losses?
No.
I fear
it’s my own contentment
at risk if I find myself
waiting for a reply
that may never come.

DeMaris Gaunt
6-18-15

Mother’s Day

Children—
each of you, listen.
I love you all.
All three of you,
who have aroused in me
a unique
and independent love—
three different loves
all rooted in the womb
of blood and warmth.
How many days
have we buried
in the soil of years?
Can you see
how much good has grown
even when the weeds
were going wild?
Remember how sure
you were
that everything wrong
was mine to make right?
Remember how much
each of you hated me
at times
for failing
to accept your burdens?
How proud I am
that you carried them
so far away
with a strength and will
you didn’t know you had—
proving to yourselves
and to each other
that we could
spread our fruits
on the table
and agreed to share
the cutting board
and the knife.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
5-10-15