Archives for posts with tag: Mother’s Day

I Am Still Waiting for and on My Daughter
by Joan Leotta

For the past forty years
I have been and still am waiting
for and on our daughter,
excitedly, hopefully, with awe and wonder.
From the first day of knowing she was growing
Inside me, I dreamt about her,
how much she would love me,
my husband and our family.
Fraught times, waiting, lying on the floor
prying by her bed all night listening to her breathe
when she fought pneumonia,
it was hard to see the joy of waiting
listening to her cry when hurt, or angry
waiting for the right moment to
comfort her—these times were harder waits.
Her growing up, leaving home gave new
things to wait for— times
when she visits, when she calls,
and those large blocks of time
when we’re not with her.
Every day brings some excitement,
some new reason to choose to anticipate
the ways that hope and joy
will shape our day or fret and worry,
which steals away joy from any waiting.
I am still waiting
for the big and little things
to hear from her how
the everyday elements of her day,
play out rejoicing when she can call.
Most of all I hope that observing
how I still wait for her has made her
own waiting practice
a time of joyful anticipation.
Yes, I am still waiting.

PAINTING: Mother and Daughter by Mary Cassatt (1913)


“To wait with openness and trust is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is choosing to hope that something is happening for us that is far beyond our own imaginings. It is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life. It is living with conviction that God molds us in love, holds us in tenderness, and moves us away from the sources of our fear.” Henri Nouwen

 NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This quote helped me home in on what I wanted to say about waiting for and on our daughter,  being with her, praying for her, waiting to hear about her day even when she lives six hours from us now, the secret of seeing, waiting as joy instead of fretting, worrying and hopefully by example, having passed this on to her.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A hug in Piazza di Spagna, Rome, Christmas 2014.  I’m on the left, daughter, Jennifer Leotta, is on my right.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. Her work has appeared in several Silver Birch Press collections, and is recently in or forthcoming in When Women Write, Spillwords, Ovunque Siamo, and others.

I Am Still Waiting for My Heart to Catch Up
by Cristina M.R. Norcross

After celebrating our youngest son’s
15th year on this earth,
I am still waiting for my heart
to catch up with the hurried footsteps
of time.

I am still waiting for my arms to realize
that my sons don’t need me to lift them
into a car seat anymore.
Our oldest can now drive
the car himself.
My prayerful thoughts
can still guide them,
willing them to arrive safely in our driveway.
My steadfast words
of faith in their gifts can uphold them,
like scaffolding offering support
at vital pressure points,
or the red training wheels from bikes
now gathering dust in the garage.

I am still waiting for my invisible shield
to go unnoticed,
but this will never be.
They see the candle of concern in my eyes.
They notice the way my attention hovers,
the laser-like focus of my mother brain,
as I listen to their needs
and remember those they never even thought of.

The time of stepping on Legos and wiping
tomato sauce from chins has ended,
but the tiny hands
that once held my finger in sleep
will know that reaching out
always results in finding me.

Like music from another room that lingers
and dances me into the next chapter,
I am still waiting for my heart
to catch up with time.
So I keep looking down at my watch,
then up at the sky,
where the robin’s egg blue of tomorrow
promises to cradle my sons’ hopes,
even when I can’t be there
to open the door.

PAINTING: Motherhood by Pablo Picasso (1901).


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The blink of an eye that was 2020 caused time to race like a swift runner. Try not to close your eyes, I thought. You just might think we skipped a year and leapt into the next one. Time passes quickly enough for parents, while watching their children grow up. Our lives become busy, spinning wheels of school, activities, and chores. The pandemic caused time to both stand still and flow rapidly, like a river. Our teenaged sons grew by leaps and bounds this year, while we were looking out the window at the world, with longing. I hope that we can all slow down and take a breath. I am still waiting for my heart to catch up with time’s arrow.

PHOTO: The author’s sons in younger years.


Cristina M. R. Norcross is the author of eight poetry collections, and is the founding editor of Blue Heron Review (2013-2021). Her most recent book is Beauty in the Broken Places (Kelsay Books, 2019). Her forthcoming poetry collection, The Sound of a Collective Pulse, is due to be published by Kelsay Books in Fall 2021. Cristina’s poems have  been published in Visual VerseYour Daily PoemPoetry HallRight Hand PointingVerse-VirtualThe Ekphrastic Review, and Pirene’s Fountain, among others. Her work also appears in numerous print anthologies. She has helped organize community art and poetry projects, has led workshops, and has also hosted many open mic readings. She is the co-founder of Random Acts of Poetry and Art Day.  Visit her at

by Joan Jobe Smith

Sometimes I feel my mother is still alive, like five
minutes ago when I wanted to show her my
new silk blouse, ask her how she likes it, tell her how
I had her in mind when I picked it out because she
always liked me wearing white, said I looked so nice
and clean. (Remember how your mother liked
to keep you nice and neat?) And when I shook myself
back to Now, realized she’d been dead nearly 30 years,
I could hardly believe it, because I’d felt her so near
and real as this silk upon my skin, felt the air around me
turn as warm as the sweet of her breath when she
smiled because I looked so clean in this white blouse.
(Remember how your mother’s lips were naturally pink
as May Day azalea?) For years after she died, every day at
four o’clock in the afternoon, no matter where I was:
at work, on the freeway to L.A., a train to London or
crossing over the Golden Gate Bridge, I’d jolt a four-
o’clock horror that I’d forgotten to take her the morphine
she needed by 4:15 or she’d tremble with seizure and pain
as she lay dying upon her mattress grave. But today, May Day,
at 4:35 when she saw me white and nice in this white blouse
she didn’t hurt anyplace anymore when she reached
quick butterfly from far away and touched my cheek.

PAINTING: “The Redhead in a White Blouse” by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (1889).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of Pearl and Bukowski Review, worked for seven years as a go-go dancer before receiving her BA from CSULB and MFA from University of California, Irvine. A Pushcart Honoree, her award-winning work has appeared internationally in more than five hundred publications, including Outlaw Bible, Ambit, Beat Scene, Wormwood Review, and Nerve Cowboy—and she has published twenty collections, including Jehovah Jukebox (Event Horizon Press, US) and The Pow Wow Cafe (The Poetry Business, UK), a finalist for the UK 1999 Forward Prize. In July 2012, with her husband, poet Fred Voss, she did her sixth reading tour of England (debuting at the 1991 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival), featured at the Humber Mouth Literature Festival in Hull. In November 2012, Silver Birch Press published her literary profile entitled Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me), available at Her writing is featured in the May 2014 release LADYLAND, an antholology of writing by American women (13e note éditions, Paris).

by Paul Fericano 

Mother, may I
sit beside you
on the green mohair couch

late at night
like a wakeful dreamer
and watch old movies

on the black and white
television set
with bent rabbit ears

and rest awhile
near your soft and gentle heart
until I fall asleep?

Yes, you may
Mother, may I
light your menthol cigarettes
with the brushed chrome

cigarette lighter
that father gave you
on your first wedding anniversary

and marvel as the smoke rings
float like halos
just above your head?

Yes, you may
Mother, may I
tell the woeful stories
you tried to tell

of love gone bad
that left you alone
to live this stubborn life?

No, you may not
but you may
take three steps backward
and finish this poem


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Fericano is a poet, satirist and social activist. In 1980 he co-founded (with Elio Ligi) the first parody news syndicate, Yossarian Universal News Service ( which helped revive Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update.” Since then, his work has never appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Paris Review. He’s the author of several books of poetry including Commercial Break, Cancer Quiz, and Loading the Revolver with Real Bullets, and is the co-author (with Elio Ligi) of the political satire, The One Minute President. In 2009, he created the popular Mission Poetry Series in Santa Barbara, Callifornia, and currently writes a monthly column on clergy abuse and the healing process for the blog A Room With A Pew (

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There’s never any drought of ideas with me. I usually have a notion of how a poem will end before I even start. Most ideas touch on topical subjects or family memories. I spent years and years reading the morning paper and scanning the news for bits of material to use as fodder for my satiric news service. I’ve learned that if you’re fearless anything can be the subject of a poem. The idea for “Mother May I” came about recently when I introduced the game to my granddaughters.

On May 7th, poetry by Joan Jobe Smith — author of the Silver Birch Press release CHARLES BUKOWSKI EPIC GLOTTIS: His Art, His Women (& me) — was featured on the City Lights Blog. Congratulations to Joan!

Since Joan’s poem tells the story of a unique mother/daughter adventure, it’s great that we can feature it on Mother’s Day.


by Joan Jobe Smith

My father refused to teach my mother
how to drive his car, he said it
wasn’t ladylike in 1949, a woman driver

was no better than a streetwalker she was
to take the bus and be a good wife like
his mother was so my mother took secret

driving lessons, the instructor man
coming every day in his grey sedan
to show her how to let out the clutch

just right so the car wouldn’t jerk, how
to work the choke and the radio, make
turn signals, arm bent up for right

straight out for left, down for slow
me in the backseat watching as we drove
the L.A. streets: Firestone. Rosemead

Sunset Boulevard, Pico, La Brea and
Santa Fe and the day she got her drivers
license she bought her self a green 1939

Ford coupe and waited in the front seat
in the driveway for my father to come home
honked the horn at him when he arrived

and said Hey handsome, need a ride?

Photo: 1939 Ford coupe (a green one!)

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”


Photo: Jacqueline Kennedy reads to 21-month-old daughter Caroline, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, August 1959. (Corbis images)


We’d like to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all the materfamiliases in the world — with a special tip of the hat to women who take time to read to their children.

You may have tangible wealth untold

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold

Richer than I you can never be

I had a mother who read to me.

From “The Reading Mother” by STRICKLAND GILLILAN

Painting: “August Reading to Her Daughter” (1910) by Mary Cassat