William Ford, "Mom's Eightieth Birthday"




You’d be in the front yard

trimming camellias

and a car would slow down

giving you the look

while I sweated through

a quarter acre of grass

with a hand mower.


For just a minute 

we laugh about it now

over coffee twenty

stories up in Seattle,

your second husband

in the hospital again

and rain closing in.


We were comrades then,

my pre-teen muscles

so small they only brought

laughter when I pushed it

or tried to make a muscle

for the girl next door.


You told me this is how

marriage ought to be,

a working together

working things out

even when the muscles hurt—

and a pretty good start,

you smile now, for taking care

of you when you’d be old

and alone and beyond

any man’s interest.


William Ford's recent work has appeared in Brilliant Corners, Cirque, Hamilton Stone Review, Hollins Critic, and Kentucky Review.