to my mother

by Steven J. Serafiani

I have always been your son
still am
kerri more like daddy
and I more like you

memories held tightly;
afternoons of chinese checkers and cards
puzzles scattered on the dining room table
“find the ends first.”
watching you cook when I barely reached counter level
your incessant kitchen helper
our fanatic love of ketchup
saturday morning grocery shopping
and sunday market day in gymnasiums
my monthly haircuts
you always held those shears with fear
teasing me for somehow becoming a cubs fan
cheering me on from sidelines
the way you always called to me for dinner
so much I hold dear

sorry I’ve been absent
I don’t know how I got so bitter
so depressed
cause you raised me with laughter
and I was nurtured
I don’t know why I’ve treated women this way
so unkind
cause you raised a sweet boy
and I was loved
it’s been a choice not to tell you my failures when I call
I don’t want you to worry
I know you would
and I have not chosen sides
since the news that you left him
cause I want to see you happy
and I know you want the same
love has not faltered
but has grown stronger

just know this —
when I hug you
it’s the only thing in life that keeps me settled
always has
always will.