gretchen m. michelfeld
All are faded.
Red, aqua, yellow, orange. Four popsicle sticks and eight unbalanced pompoms frame a color-copy repro of the boy, utterly green-striped shirt, and crinkly smile, holding up a pink sign: I Love You Mommy. I ease the thumbtack from the bedroom door and tease it from the sticky loop of yarn that has hung the picture there through ten Mother’s Days, ten Christmases, ten first days of this and last of that, worrying the spongy little puzzle-piece-alphabet stickers along the bottom of the frame. M-O-M-M-
I do not need to know if this was yours or mine, recalling that his teacher gently told me there were two coming home in his backpack because, although you’d left this earth before the class had started crafting, he insisted on making one for both his mommies. But looped in my brain (and sticky too, and fuzzy) are the questions: When did I lose the Y? How have I never noticed? Or did I notice years ago and then forget? What else will I forget about us?
But there are also the sparkles.
And in the middle, look! A shiny star. Blue. Your favorite.
Gretchen M. Michelfeld is an essayist, dramatist, and sometime poet whose creative nonfiction has appeared in The Keepthings, Motherwell Magazine, the Washington Post, The Good Men Project, and Parents.com (among others). An avid walker and practitioner of yoga, she lives in Jackson Heights, Queens with her lovely family and their insane cat.