How I Met My Mothers

By Michele Vavonese
By Michele Vavonese

By Rick Lupert

Of all the mothers I’ve ever known
mine was certainly one of them.
Did what she could with the little she had.
Spent years on a couch so I could have
a bedroom in the apartments she could afford.
Sang like an angel before I ever met her.
Tried to feed me dolphin once, I think
just to see if she could get away with it.
It was the seventies and Flipper was
still on TV, so I wasn’t having it.
Now she is returned to her mother and father
Dust in Syracuse wind.
Remembered whenever we
say her name.

Of all the mothers I’ve ever known
the matriarchs are the ones whose names
pass through my lips the most.
Too often secondary characters in
our sacred literature. Took centuries before
we inserted them into the Amidah,
only to realize they were there all along.
We are a matrilineal people after all.
The patriarchs wouldn’t have existed without them
and for that matter, neither would the rest of us.
Elohai Sarah, Elohai Rivkah,
Elohai, Leah, v’Elohai Rachel
Like I even need to tell you that.

Of all the mothers I’ve ever known,
my son’s mother is the best one I know.
He’s six and a half now and she’s dealt
with his shenanigans this whole time
while I’ve sat in the other room pretending
anything was more important. Sometimes
she makes like she can’t take it anymore,
the chorus of noes, the refusal to eat
yellow vegetables. She plays just plain
fed up. But one accidental bump on his head
and it’s her open arms he goes to. There is
no choice here. She gives mother like
the sun gives light. I look to her like
I look to the matriarchs. She is the long haul.
She is the name that will be spoken
for generations.


  1. enjoyed this so much, a shiksa wanna be Jewish at one time, dark hair passed but blond destroyed and my son wouldn,t let me get away with it, has to be hands off, but I had my little secrets. But love the poems and tribute to such a one.

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