My Mother is fifty tonight so I take her out
for dinner and free cake
four cups of coffee and silence to replace a feeling
of hunger when she says,
“I was so terribly lonely I went back
to Atikokan, because I missed Greg.”
Sparkler burns on the cake and she takes it off
one gold star for the drop-out tonight.
Her oldest son is missing
replaced and repossessed
by something strung out and asking for money
to be transferred so he can get off the phone
and coughing in the background
tells her he’s not alone
but no surprises there.
The Husband dropped in to have a piece of cake
candles this time no gold stars
“you’d like these guys.”
he says as he’s leaving
blood still under his fingernails
because the invitation was never really there
and she’d rather have a bath anyways.
I put away the dishes for her
boil the kettle while she disappears
for a moment
coming back just to say
“thank you for making today so special.”
my mother is the luckiest girl in the world.