Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts

Poetry Contest Winners :: Fifth Contest :: First Place Winner

Tonight, I Remember, Mom

by Sandy Jamar

Tonight, I remember, Mom,
all the nights over the past thirty years
we spent together in your kitchen
washing dishes.
I remember the linoleum floor,
the white and yellow cabinets
so tall that I stood upon a chair
to reach the sink,
you in your bibbed apron,
and I with a dish towel half my length.
I remember, Mom, the first night,
so green to the task I broke a plate
and cried.
You just laughed, making it all right,
and said, in time I'd break a good many more.
You were right.

Tonight, I remember, Mom,
hot August nights when supper
waited late upon the men
returning in the dark
from fields of new-mown hay.
Then, after everyone had eaten,
he trudged the stairs to bed,
while we two stayed to clear the dishes
in the stillness of the night.
I remember exhaustion
sagging down our shoulders
and collecting in the small of our backs.
I remember, too, your tired smile
and softly spoken, "'night"
when the last crock was safely
put away.

I cannot now recall all that we said
to each other over the years,
washing dishes after supper.
But I remember, Mom,
nights we laughed together
and cried
and philosophized
and argued
and solved the problems of our lives.
Were it not for that daily chore,
that odious, routine task
(from which all others shirked),
I would not have these memories
and more, much more.
I miss those nights sometimes.
Even now, I miss washing dishes with you, Mother.

Second Place Winner
Blue Mountain Arts