local_library Mother’s Day

by Henry Goldkamp

Published in Issue No. 226 ~ March, 2016

No need to guess—you began me with one egg left

in a two dozen carton. Hawaii is a nice place.


Laughing laundry piles and lavender

can’t last forever, though. We both know

punishments like a week without desert,

for poorly thought-out You Sucks on an

enemy driveway, get harsher as you get older.

Secrets are hidden, an entire history of baseball cards

and pornography, pot in the ceiling tiles, punching

concrete. Manipulation and soccer games, spitting into

California grass. Your father was a mean man,

because one time at a barbeque. So what if it

takes time to understand that love is still

love even after fading. That love is still love.


Or it can be noisy as hell, tearing down Florida

highways for a chance at my own. Gasoline

can drive a boy crazy, they say. I wasn’t fighting

any sort of pangs of divorce. I was fighting a

police state of table manners. Let me tell you

something: when realizing the world is nothing

but snarled teeth surrounding you, it is jarring

to find out those dentures are your own. Hungry

boys can’t go out to play until you finish all your milk.


Raised right then left for sin.

Catholic intentions need a saint.

Most sarcasm is poison. Being

an asshole isn’t funny. There is no pleasure

in anyone’s pain. A hitchhiker’s thumb

leads you to find that we’re all saints.


Dad told me about some picture where

you were in some beautiful land in love,

happy, pregnant with even more happiness.

I never saw it, but that won’t ever stop me

from believing it exists. You knew about me


forever, Mary. While scooting across a snowy

sewer pipe, somewhere in north California, you

knew I’d be here. Because destiny, and a math

quiz, and fate, and you—I’m here to fight this

slump for you, to make it beautiful again,

to get you out of here. Like you got me


out of the house, handed me

over to the world, her virtue and humanity, taught

one at a time, one day at a time, every other day,

and finally they dance together like we have since the beginning,

albeit in badly chosen formal attire and slippers,

and if we ever get tired, there’s always I Love Lucy reruns

and a cream-colored blanket in the guest room.

Freud would dance if he saw when you taught me

what boobs are. Nothing has power enough to quit existing,

pints of ice cream, sidewalk chalk, Lucille Ball excluded.

account_box More About

Henry Goldkamp lives in New Orleans with his wife and three dogs, though he is originally from Saint Louis (he often taps the Mississippi River for inspiration). Most important to him is the spirit of gratitude and realizing how damn lucky all this is. He is the creator of the art project turned book, What the Hell is Saint Louis Thinking?, and has been recently published in Mudfish, Waterways, Asinine Poetry, and others. If you want to know more about his work, simply google search “Henry Goldkamp” with a fresh drink of your choice—there’s plenty to read.