Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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She painted letters on tin caps for the children to play with.
Kids being kids, they lost a few.
She threw some out
rather than step on them one more time,
or have to trade a bone to extract a Q
from the dog for fear he'd choke.
The caps would cluster together
masquerading as biscuits
at toddler tea parties,
or as soldiers on a preschool battlefield.
They might spell a word, cat or stop.
When the kids were older,
the impertinent caps spelled out Shut op
for lack of a second U
or Zerk after the J was lost in the heating vent.
When the youngest left for college, he spelled out
gratfl with six of the remaining letters
leaving them for her to find on the kitchen table,
next to a spray of flowers.

Eileen Cleary is a nurse and poet, currently studying for her MFA at Lesley University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bird’s Thumb, First Things, Poems2go, and Westview. She has attended writing workshops at Grub Street Boston and New York Writer’s Studio.

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