Unanchored Mothers and Cup Cakes

by Regis Boff

An unanchored mother is sure footed when baking for her kids.
She needs no other moorings when she wields her Crisco pans and while her oven is heating those little buns of crumbly love, as she kneads them into the crinkly colored tissue.
She daydreams of icing slapped mouths, puckered into pint-sized hearts, kissing her cheeks.
They need nothing more now than sitting neatly at the unanchored mother’s dinner table eating cupcakes.
And the arrangement is perfect but for the hole at the end of this table where her anchor once sat.
The kids gobble too fast, and they love to talk, but not about the part that is empty.
They talk to each other mostly, while she listens and understands that what they say must be remembered by her alone.
Never to be recalled later and shared in a quiet bed with that Cyclops eye of long marriage.
And they eat so quickly, then they beg to go play and off they go.
The unanchored mother sits at the unbalanced table, with the half-wolfed tray of cupcakes, recalling how he would always try to avoid eating them with her.
She doesn’t remember things dependably now, as the days run over one another, and that’s nobody’s fault.
The cupcakes are still fun, and the kids had a good time, which is her point.
Certainly, there is nothing to blame. One can’t accuse the rolling ball of yarn that unspools just out of your reach.
The unmoored mother spins in her sea of empty plates and crumbs and meals that wait to be made and served
to the kids who will hurry through her suppertimes while marking, with every mouthful, the slow departure that is their growing up.
The unanchored mother, rocking in her lonely and noiseless sea, reaches for another cupcake and for the time that is left to her.