Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
A Prayer for My Unemployed Son

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Bless him and his hours of idleness.
Bless him and his empty pockets.
Remember him as an infant
barely filling a corner of his crib,
already busy: focusing his eyes,
studying the movement of fingers.
A diligent student, he skipped crawling,
graduated to walking at nine months.
Bless him and his gigantic sheaf
of Citizen-of-the-Month awards.
Bless him and his impoverished resumé.
Forgive him for breaking his body twice:
dancing (à la Weird Al) down the stairs,
and that last Mammoth snowboard race
where for one ecstatic moment
(precalamity), he had never been happier.
Bless him and that cloud of despair
that swells inside him. Reward him--
he’s been laboring for years, earned
a degree and the debt to prove it.
See how he no longer fits this childhood
room. How he has to sleep
with his legs hanging out the windows.
See how he paces an oval rut, his hair
raking the popcorn ceiling. Remember
when he was only a small bulge
under a tan blanket on the top bunk,
how he always wanted to climb higher.

Karen Stromberg’s poetry and flash fiction have appeared online at Qarrtsiluni and Word Gathering, and also in the anthology Forgetting Home; Poems About Alzheimer’s. She lives in California with her husband. They have three grown children, one ancient Shih Tzu, and four teenage cats.

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