First Mother’s Day without Mom by Ginger Dehlinger

It’s a sunny day in May
and I’m pushing a wheeled cart
through the aisles of the supermarket.

Other Saturday shoppers are doing the same,
and though I’m not usually interested
I look in every basket I pass.
Blind to the bread, lettuce and eggs,
my eyes rest on balloons, cards,
flowers and small beribboned packages.

How paltry is my pantry;
how blue and bereft my basket
compared to theirs.

I watch a store employee
dip strawberries in melted chocolate
then roll them in candy sprinkles.

Mom loved those decadent treats,
so I nestle a colorful dozen
in my basket of gray merchandise.

Ahead of me in the long checkout line
a pink teddy bear sits atop a loaded cart.
Avoiding his shiny stare I look away.

To my right is a display of potted plants
(orchids, mini roses, African violets)
some large, others small and green.

A shopper is picking up plants,
looking at price labels, sniffing blossoms,
debating which one to buy.

“Take the roses,” I want to tell her.
“Take the roses.”

Ginger Dehlinger writes in multiple genres. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in several e-zines and anthologies. Most of her work is set in the West including two novels, Brute Heart (Oregon) and Never Done (Colorado). Ginger lives in Bend, OR with her husband and a cat, both spoiled.

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