Atlas, thy name is Mother

She remains there, beneath life, under a heavy world.

Kids, events, age, career, household, her man,

she holds it all, on her shoulders,

in a labored squat.


He looks for the perfect polo, the best cologne,

he drives a shiny car into the sunset of career advancement,

he thinks he has it all, in his future,

because maybe, he doesn’t know squat.


Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

Dear Mom…


This March, you will have been gone for nine years.  Remember your granddaughter?  You held her in your fragile hands, she was only a few months old, and you only had a few months left.   A year after you were gone, I cleaned up you art studio, I kept expecting you to walk in and yell at me for messing up your stuff.  I gave  your yarn to Robin, she is an awesome mother-in-law to my little sister, just like how you were to Jackie.  I quit wandering around lost with jobs.  I went back to college and finished, I have an awesome career now.  I make drinking water, just like dad does.  We talk shop all the time.  He misses you everyday, but he stays busy, and he loves all of your grandkids.   You have five now.  My son would make you laugh. We lost two pregnancies before he showed up.  We almost gave up, but I am glad we didn’t.   I am going to be 56 years old when he graduates high school.  I tell the joke that everyone will  think I am his grandpa.  “Hey your grandpa came to your graduation!”  Then he says, “That’s my dad.”  Maybe I won’t look old.  Silver hair is scouting my hair in single strands here and there.  My hair is still there, so I don’t care what color it decides to be.  I bought a new sports car.  It’s not a midlife crisis.  I have always loved fast cars.  Just like you did.  If you are gonna commute, then you get to drive what you love.  I don’t know if you know it or not, but you set me up very well.  You made me strong.  I hope you are proud of me.  I wish, God would let you call me, but I see you in my dreams sometimes.  You are young, and healthy.  Sometimes you just watch me play with the kids, quiet, with a warm smile, I would imagine you would be doing the same thing, if you were here.  Sometimes we talk about non-fantastical things.  When I wake up and can never remember what they were.  That old crazy standard poodle, Molly is still alive.  She is like a ghost hanging out in skin and bones.  I think she is worried about dad.  If she passes away, I think we get him a puppy.  I also think he is worried about retiring.  I am trying so hard to give him a chance to.   Jackie and I have been landlords for 5 years.  It is hard work sometimes, but we are good at it.  My kids have a great life, all those years of hard work you invested in your family is paying dividends.  I tell my kids about you, and how wonderful you were.  Sorry, but I tell Jackie all the time you were an amazing cook.  I miss your food.  I guess I always thought you would teach her all your secrets.  I had so many plans, and ideas, of you making cookies, and painting with grandkids.  Cancer stole you away from me.


I hope you are doing well, I love you.

I miss you.

I hope we will meet again someday.




Copyright © 2017 Zachary Gilbert

Lost Hugs

Don’t take this whole thing too personal,

but my emotions, are not quite, that versatile.

I have a 3 foot bubble, 3 meters may be better,

I don’t want, your breath, or the scratch of your sweater.


Hugs are powerful, I do believe that, to be true,

mother won’t hug me, so neither can you.

My kids run fast. They crash into an embrace.

In a ‘big ol daddy hug’, hurt and woe, soon displace.


I pick up the phone and dial mom’s number,

to tell tales, of life, and the stress I am under.

No answer.  I miss her voice, a hug for my heart.

A hug from a mother, gives hope a fresh start.


40 years, write lines upon my face,

I ache, and ache, for mothers warm embrace.

Decayed emotions, loose and dry under the yellow sun.

Truth seeps out. The black tales of my heart, now come.


My mother won’t hug me, in time, her story is lost,

Cold wind, blows over the river, while stones cover in moss.

A scratchy gray sweater, with a horse on it,  zipped under her breath.

Mother’s hugs, become empty shadows, soon after her death.


Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

Mother’s Aesthetic

Watch your step, as your bare feet attempt to navigate the chocolate milk stained carpet.  Some post apocalyptic toy war has left many casualties on the living room floor.  A cat licks spilled milk off of the kids table, while another bats off bills and loose papers from the kitchen island.  There are thousands of invisible sandbags strapped to a mothers shoulders every moment of every day.

The girls hair is wild, full of knots, and all of the precious minutes to get ready for school have been eaten by the clock that hangs slightly crooked on the wall.  A little boy who has only existed for 2 years, decides of take off his diaper.  He now spreads sludge over everything he touches, like a crashing meteor fouling anything beautiful in its path.  The dog jumps in to help clean up the situation.  Somehow, someway, mothers find a way to fight back the tide,  to win the battle of moments.

Laundry, dishes, bills, cleaning, phone calls, appointments, broken cars, all attack mothers, who have sacrificed so much for kids, and hubby.  Amidst the weary domestic war of life, in the aftermath of family, the scene somehow holds an appealing aesthetic value.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert