On Hearing ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ When You Don’t Have Kids

after Reginald Shephard’s “My Mother Was No White Dove”


I am not a Mom

yet Mom’s what they think.


I am a woman

and Mom’s what they see.


Adults write about their mothers

as if composing a greeting card.


Their mothers are kind, supportive

an inspiration even sixty years later.


People raised by troubled mothers

…those poems are rare.


Finally a poet whose mother was

“…the clouded-over night…”


When the young man returns my credit card,

says, Happy Mother’s Day! I am pleased

to think he does not know such darkness.



Mary C. Rowin

Mary C. Rowin’s poetry has appeared in publications such as Panopoly, Stoneboat, Hummingbird and Oakwood Literary Magazine. Recent awards include poetry prizes from The Nebraska Writers Guild, and Journal from the Heartland. Mary’s poem “Centering,” published in the Winter 2018 issue of Blue Heron Review, was nominated for the Push Cart Anthology. Mary lives with her husband in Middleton, Wisconsin.

It’s 1938 Again

it’s 1938 again, glass shatters

shards scatter, lives don’t matter

state sponsored murder sanctioned

and the constituents celebrate

and the constituents applaud


toxic rallies continue

hot coals are thrown into boiling

pots of ignorant meltdown ignited

and the constituents celebrate

and the constituents applaud


the fallout spreads

and the fallout is out of control

as ash and smoke hover like

low hanging clouds hiding our eyes

from daylight tempting us with madness


the morning sonnet of the Song Thrush

the nighttime chirp of crickets, the glitter

at dusk from fireflies are no longer only

cries of children cries of mothers

cries of fathers and weeping walls


blood runs in the street blood runs in the rivers

blood drips, drips, drips in the drains while mirth

reigns in chateaus, castles and towers tall, tall, tall

and the constituents are happy

and the constituents celebrate

and the constituents applaud


it’s 1938 again


Jerry T Johnson

Jerry T. Johnson is a Poet and Spoken Word Artist whose poetry has appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies. Jerry often features at a variety of spoken word venues in the New York City area and he currently lives in Danbury, Connecticut with his wife Raye.


My husband and I go to the church craft fair. We are surprised because my mother is there. Her booth is in the corner. She is selling crocheted baby blankets and baby beanies. We don’t think it’s her at first. The booth is draped in black. Her products are black, too. No pretty-in-pink pink or robin’s-egg-blue. Not even the occasional relief of white. When we get close, my mother puts down the beanie she’s working on and smiles shyly. I smile shyly, too. My husband wanders away to the booth that has pottery car parts.

The woman in the booth next to my mother’s comes over and says,

“She’ll need a ride home.”

Like I wouldn’t know this.

My mother’s eyes are as big as a puppy’s. She nods. I nod back.

Then I go and spend money on gifts. Because that’s what you do at a church craft fair. Jesus died on a cross. His robe was shredded. We have to buy him a new one.

When I get back to my mother’s booth, it is packed up. Like Christ, she is gone. My husband, who bought a pottery V-8 engine, finds me in the corner confused. The woman in the booth next to my mother’s comes over and says,

“She’s waiting for you in your car.”

Like I wouldn’t know this.

My husband and I go out to the parking lot, and there she is. My mother’s in the driver’s seat. We are surprised. My mother never liked to drive. Before she died, she didn’t even have a driver’s license. My husband next to me says,

“Move over, Mary.”

My mother doesn’t move. She looks straight ahead and stays in the seat. Just when we least expect it, my mother starts the car, and drives off.


My husband’s jaw drops.

I am bereft.

“She left.” I say.

“She took the car,” my husband says.

“What will we do?” he adds. “She’s gone.”

Like I don’t know this. Like every cell in my body doesn’t know this.



Nan Wigington

Nan Wigington works as a para-educator in an autism center classroom. Her flash fiction has appeared in Gravel, the Gordon Square Review, and Pure Slush.

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud