Donna Fleischer / Helen

for Helen, my beloved mother, long ago gone – word pond

word pond

Helen

all the years
we formed a twosome,
shouldering whatever the world gave

drugstore Christmas dinner in red
leatherette booth, a man’s back stooped over
at the counter, cigarette wedged between yellowed
fingers slow stirring coffee, clattering the metal
spoon against ceramic sides. turkey dinner with
pumpkin pie for us & that rock and mineral set
from G. Fox & Company I silently wished for,
more voice lessons, and books, always . . .
Treasure Island and the newest Black Stallion

a pack of Teaberry or Blackjack gum
from the candy machine where she worked,
her smile quiet with exhaustion, arriving
home with the sweet surprise

Friday nights the package store, where I
studied each month of the Miss Rheingold
calendar, or the corner taverns where we ate
homemade lasagna, slid quarters into the jukebox slot —
sometimes for a fast dance song, but usually
the broken-hearted ones. I got…

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