Watching the Children Play

children on playground

We struck up conversation easily —
custodians with no apparent lack
of common ground. (It seems he has a knack
for working on transmissions.) Suddenly
his focus shifted momentarily.
Three names rang out, three children answered back.
His explanation made my jaw go slack:
“I need to hear their voices — I can’t see.”

He never saw my estimation rise
for one so fit, with miles and years to span,
whose handicap won’t bump him from the race.
I swallowed hard, then slowly raised my eyes —
two gluttons drinking in the scene — to scan
the playground, seeking out my grandson’s face.

 

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2001

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Caveat Emptor

UPS_truck

I remember the moment a package was brought
and the words the delivery man said.
Though he carried the treasure I’d eagerly sought,
his advice went way over my head.

“Sorry lady,” he said, “but I’m only consigned
to deliver it into your care.
Now it’s fit for the purpose for which it’s designed
and, with maintenance, won’t need repair.”

“But as for the way it will work, don’t ask me,
for that isn’t my job to explain.
You received what you ordered, but no guarantee
that it won’t give you cause to complain.”

So of course I accepted the package “as is”
for I wouldn’t have thought to do other,
not knowing that only experience gives
true claim to the title of Mother.

I would wager no woman who’s ever been blessed
with a heart full of love for a child
was completely prepared for the ultimate test
of going beyond the last mile.

But I also suspect almost anyone could
successfully hurdle obstructions
and rise to the challenge of good parenthood . . .
if children just came with instructions.

———

cc-by-nc-ndMary Boren,  1996

 

The Young Foodie’s Alphabet

fruit_garden

A is for an Appetite for scrumptylicious food
grown in sun and soil instead of stapled, sealed and glued.

B is for the Broccoli that looks like little trees.
Roaring like a dinosaur, I chomp their heads with ease.

C is for the Cinnamon that’s sprinkled on my toast.
All the other spices cry ’cause I love this one most.

D  is for the Dairy cow that grazes all day long
making milk and cheese that help to build my muscles strong.

E is for the Elderberry, fighting off the flu
like a little soldier in a uniform of blue.

F is for the Fava beans with pods about to pop,
bursting with the energy that makes me skip and hop.

G is for the Gardener who honors nature’s plan.
Earth cannot protect herself from fools, but humans can.

H  is for the Honeycomb that holds a golden treat
pretty as a fairy’s sunny smile and just as sweet.

I is for the Idaho potato someone found
on a farm in Kansas with its head still underground.

J is for the Juice of lemons, oranges and limes
perking up my mouth and puckering my lips at times.

K is for the Kiwi fruit that keeps my skin so creamy
I would want to kiss myself if no one else could see me.

L is for the Lettuce Leaf that makes a salad crunch.
(Only when it’s fresh enough; if not, have beans for lunch.)

M‘s for Macadamia, a heap of fun to say —
tough to crack but packed with vitamins like E and A.

N is for the other Nuts with names we love to mutter,
best of all when roasted, raw, or blended into butter.

O  is for the Onion with its layers paper thin
squeezing out their flavor for the dish we put them in.

P is for Persnickety, a word my mama uses
when I wrinkle up my nose at food that runs or oozes.

Q‘s the sign for Quinoa, packed with protein, low in fat,
bulking up a salad — I could go for some of that.

R is for the Rutabaga, something like a turnip
with a purple bonnet so its topknot doesn’t burn up.

S is for the Sweet potato. Nothing smells like heaven
half as much when two of them are baking in the oven.

T is for expensive Truffles. Those who can afford
pigs to go and dig them up are probably just bored.

U is for Unsaturated fat that comes from fishes —
better for the brain and heart and swimmingly delicious.

V is for the Vinegar that makes a zesty dressing
with a hundred other uses for the household’s blessing.

W‘s for Watermelon. Families who pause
for a summer picnic feel it dripping from their jaws.

X will mark the spot where other natural delights
wait to be discovered in a test of tasty bites.

Y of course, is You, the one who eats nutritious fare
offered by the world’s providers — those who really care.

Z is saved for last because it represents the noise
coming from the sleeping heads of healthy girls and boys.

———

cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2014

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