Catching Tears
by Dale Lombardi

As a young child,
when I would cry
big blubbering tears

and no amount of hugs
or kisses or cajoling
could make me stop,

my mother would get
a small glass and press it
gently against my cheek

just below one eye.
For each tear I catch,
you’ll get a penny. And a wish.

Try as I would,
I never did earn a cent.
I never could keep on crying

and my mother never did
catch any tears,
fresh or fading.

My tears stopped
The glass stayed empty,

then was wiped clean
of finger and cheek prints
and returned to the cupboard

while I sat calm
and empty-eyed,
my own glass now full.

PAINTING: White Rose in a Glass by Piet Mondrian (1921).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My poems usually come from words, phrases or questions that flare forth from my reading or from some source unknown. They percolate quietly on the back burners of my brain until eventually, one by one, each gives rise to a poem.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dale Lombardi is a poet and conceptual artist who takes her inspiration from old trees, stone walls, and daydreams in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut.  She had a poet’s heart from the beginning, but the poet within lay dormant as she earned degrees from Duke University (BA) and Florida State University (MS), then juggled motherhood and careers as a speech pathologist, communication consultant, and corporate trainer.  Once she left the stress of careers and the vigilance of motherhood behind, she had space enough — and time — for the poet-artist within to emerge. Ever believing in the transformative power of beauty, she now spends her days walking, wondering, and creating. Her collection Cloud and Bone was published in January 2023 by Finishing Line Press.