“Reasons Why I Love My Mother” by Marisa Donnelly

2013 Salveson Prize in Poetry 

I am

not what you say

though my scrambled eggs

are always runny,

corners of wheat toast brown,

Purple and yellow

are complimentary colors—

I forgot this

just as I failed to remember

it was cranberry you wanted

not orange juice.

Our front staircase

now holds carpet casualties—

spilled egg,

shards of the kitchen china,

small pieces: gold, red, blue.

You woke, sitting up on your hands

commotion called you from sleep

my failed attempt

of breakfast in bed.

I am not a disappointment—

ribbons, balloons, streamers

handwritten notes on napkins

paper signs happy mother’s day

Forgiveness speaks loudest

in our shared fork,

two lip prints on the orange juice glass.

 

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