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Contributor Series 11: On Birthdays, Bow Ties

07.12.12 Posted in Contributor Series 11, words to linger on by

Contributor Series 11: On Birthdays
Bow Ties
By Patrick Stevens
for Janet, my mother

My mother is meticulous.
She tapes down pastel paper,
edges folded crisp along
an ivory box deftly lined
with finest three-ply tissue
as if spied on by the Queen.

Her mother inscribed morals
on her holiday-driven heart:
“The gift is in the thought,”
which you may find clich
but words are only trite
until a little girl believes them.

So my mother sprouted
into glitter and curling ribbon
wicker baskets and shrink wrap
cautious scissor snips to match
the joy inside the package with
the care in which it’s wrapped.

Once a child with no sense,
I tore at her pink-papered love
with savage, pterodactyl fury
wings flailing eyes glazed unaware
that the object of my destruction
was an extension of her soul.

I hold my mother now,
a small yellow-bowed box
set in robin’s-egg wrapping
gently lifting up the tape along
the soft underbelly of the present.
I have grown meticulous myself.

She sits in an antique chair, watching,
smiling, her radiance reflecting off
the iridescent ribbons of her masterpiece.
Seeing this, I almost have no interest
in what lies inside the package.
Her gift to me is in the paper.

Patrick Stevens’ most recent poem to appear here was Glimpse (April 2011).

2 Responses to “Contributor Series 11: On Birthdays, Bow Ties”

  1. This touched me. Any mother would be proud to have a beautiful poem like this written to/about her.

  2. Patrick, I love your poem-what a beautiful and poignant tribute to your Mother!

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