What I Love About Mondays in the Spring
I love how there is birdsong, urgent and lovely,
as we walk before sunrise, one dog
beside each of us.
I love how the light spreads behind the neighbor’s red pines,
creating incandescent tree silhouettes.
I love how bustle fills our kitchen like an embrace:
dishes clink, cereal rustles, coffee gurgles to its finish.
I love how butter pools into little golden oases
on my dry toast, how you brush your lips on my cheek
when my mouth is full.
And I love how, when you leave,
the silence afterwards is soft, not final.
Mothers Understand Each Other
She wakes, adrift between sad and nostalgic,
happy and anxious.
She thinks of the new wedding dress
her daughter will wear in six months
when all traces of little girl will be scrubbed away.
Outside, her husband and dog
stare at a fox in the driveway.
He whispers through the open bedroom window.
Come here! You need to see this.
She peeks out the window, surfaced from sleep
enough to reach for her camera,
goes outside barefoot in pajamas.
The fox watches them all,
sits tall next to the garden,
bushy tail splayed behind,
swollen teats distinct.
A mama fox.
She leans forward, wishes she could speak fox,
one mother to another.
Your babies will be gone too soon.
She adjusts her camera for low morning light.
They’ll have babies of their own,
mates not of your choosing.
You’ll become irrelevant.
The fox blinks, yawns, stretches out in the grass,
mindful of the two humans, the dog,
the hungry kits hidden nearby.
She takes a few more photos,
tiptoes back inside. Her husband and dog follow.
She glances back, but the fox is gone,
a wild mother who knows exactly when to take her leave.
Kathleen Cassen Mickelson (she/her) co-founded the quarterly poetry journal Gyroscope Review and acted as co-editor until 2020. She is the author of How We Learned to Shut Our Own Mouths (Gyroscope Press), and her work has appeared in journals in the US, UK, and Canada. Prayer Gardening, a poetry collection co-authored with Constance Brewer, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books at the end of 2023.