The First To Leave

I wrote this poem in 1992 when my first born left for college after being at home for a year after his high school graduation. He attended community college and got some credits taken care of at a nice price. He also had some time to think about what he wanted to take when he got to “real college”. When he turned 18 he told me “Mom, your job is done.” He never asked for another dime from us. We dropped him off at college about two hours north of ‘home’ and our ‘get-away’ weekend quickly turned into a wake. This poem was birthed from that experience.

[i’ve tried to format this with white space between stanzas, but i can’t get it to stick. sorry for the squishedness]

empty closet

Why didn’t anyone tell me how I’d feel

when I walked into his room to raise the blinds

and faded squares and rectangles glared from the walls

once covered in posters of fast cars and pretty women?

Why didn’t anyone tell me how I’d feel

when I looked into his closet that used to be

packed with jeans and tee shirts and sneakers

and now holds only empty tangled hangers?

Why didn’t anyone tell me how I’d feel

when I answered the phone on the first ring

and it wasn’t one of his buddies calling

and more importantly, it wasn’t him?

Why didn’t anyone tell me how I’d feel

when I realized this was the end of his

childhood, the beginning of his future

and a new beginning for me?

Did anyone tell him how I’d feel?


Thanks for Listening








When you need to be distracted from life, what do you do?

I prayed.

I played casino games on FaceBook.

I watched hockey while eating a gigantic bowl of ice cream.

I made a double batch of chocolate chip cookie dough and froze a mess of little cookie balls.

I baked a loaf of coconut, chocolate chip, banana bread with more rum in it than was called for.

I made Bush’s Baked Beans and put Jack Daniel’s whiskey in them.

I prayed some more.

I posted on FaceBook and had so many nice responses I cried tears that ran down my real face.

I decided to write this.

I decided to listen to my iTunes while I wrote.

I rejected Bob Dylan’s, Make You Feel My Love as the first song, because it made my tears appear again.

I called a friend and she wasn’t home. I won’t call her cell. This is not a cell phone conversation I need to have with her.

I just discovered that a new neighbor moved in. Maybe I’ll bake some of those frozen cookie balls. Oh, and another neighbor had a family loss and then a health issue. Maybe I’ll bake off more of those cookie balls and deliver them. I’m going to serve at church tomorrow with the babies. Maybe I’ll bake more cookies for the people serving.

Maybe I’ll make more cookie dough.

Thanks for listening.

Gotta go.

I have lives to touch.