Sunday, May 5, 2013

It'll Soon Be Mother's Day...


Mother was satisfied

with the two dresses

she alternated wearing

to her salesclerk job

at Quackenbush’s.

When she’d arrive home,

she’d change into a house dress

and hang the dress she wore

on the clothesline to air.


Mother was satisfied

with her old winter coat.

It was warm enough.

It didn’t matter to her

that the sleeves

were beginning to fray.


Whenever there was

leeway in the budget,

she bought for us.

She could wait.

She was satisfied.


When I turned sixteen,

my first job was at Woolworth’s.

I was paid ninety cents an hour

to work after school and Saturdays;

brought home twelve dollars a week.

I gave a portion to my father,

bought my own clothes,

paid for bus fares, lunches, books,

and saved.


One day I saw it

on a rack in The Mart,

a nice gray wool coat

with neatly folded unfrayed cuffs.

Nothing fancy,

just new and neat

and on sale.


I wrapped it for her birthday,

January eighth,

but gave it to her

in early December.


It was the first time

I’d given her

more than a trinket.


Maude Carolan
This poem was previously published in The Paterson Literary Review.




  1. Beautiful Maude! And Hapy Mothers' Day to YOU!!!!!!!

  2. Thanks, Chris. Happy Mother's Day to you, too!

  3. Oh, this is just lovely. In my imagination I went on to see your mother's face as she unwrapped her present. Wonderful.

  4. Thank you, Helen. My mother was sweet and humble and appreciated everything anyone did for her. She was only 51 when she died following a heart attack in 1966. I've missed her all these years.