This cake I might one year have made for my mother's birthday, to be eaten next to little chuckling Frijoles Creek at Bandelier, in the shaded valley below the ruins trail, the cliff dwellings that always called me for a walk while she sat and watched birds or other picnickers, or read and smoked and drank coffee from the thermos after a feast of smoked salmon on green chili bagels.
And for her birthday, though she wasn't really one for poetry, these lines from Ted Kooser's "Mother" speak to me, if not to her.
for this is the month of my birth, as you know,
the best month to be born in, thanks to you,
everything ready to burst with living.
There will be no more new flannel nightshirts
sewn on your old black Singer, no birthday card
addressed in a shaky but businesslike hand.
You asked me if I would be sad when it happened
and I am sad. But the iris I moved from your house
now hold in the dusty dry fists of their roots
green knives and forks as if waiting for dinner,
as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that.
Were it not for the way you taught me to look
at the world, to see the life at play in everything,
I would have to be lonely forever.