Guest Post: Bonnie J. Toomey, “Mother of You”

Mother of You


I am the goddess of lasagna,

says my son. I think about this

as I layer the marinara

and ricotta over sheets of noodle,

hopeful I’m able to live up to his praise.


I don’t know what makes me look up,

peripheral vision, perhaps some womb-like instinct,

the pull between two places in proximity –

But the forms are there in the open,

white-chested dancers, tawny,

sloping necks, intent on food.


I leave the wooden spoon soaked in sauce,

fixate on the small herd.

Sliding into the chair I lean in close

to the window,

hands coming to rest on my damp-aproned lap.


The creatures tug at last year’s grass,

black velvet muzzles forage,

and the rituals of winter’s kitchen are quiet but for the

collected and layered impressions they’ve made,

rising like old friends from the dusty mullion.

The animals lift their heads,

pause with statuesque stares,

scenting, ears calculating…


How do they stay warm out there?

Will they survive? When did you become a man?

A pebble drops into some vernal pool,


concentric ripple through Spring’s earth

washes up and laps over this kitchen floor.

And the lissome figures spring into space,

ebb past the deep thickets and deeper,

bodies disappear into the woods

that protect and swallow up at the same time.


The distant rasp of tires mash

and push closer through gravel and mud –

You have arrived.  I run to the door.


© Bonnie J. Toomey, 2015


Blogger, essayist, and columnist, Bonnie Toomey ruminates myriad issues facing families today. When she’s not delving into her graduate studies and teaching writing at Plymouth State University, she’s whispering poems into her grandson’s ears. Her limns are in The Penwood Review and The Bay State Echo. Her essays, op-eds, and feature articles have appeared in Parenting New Hampshire and Baystateparent Magazine, and are published weekly in the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

Hindsight © Ellen Wade Beals, 2015

Thanks to Bonnie J. Toomey for letting me share her work.


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  1. Jane Nieuwboer says:

    What an evocative poem! The lines blur between foraging family and foraging fauna. Beautiful!

  2. Katie says:

    A beautiful sensory poem about love, motherhood, and the questions all of us have about the comings and goings of beasts, children, and ourselves in their cyclical absence and return to our doorways and windows–ultimately the portals of our hearts.

  3. Bonnie J says:

    My humble thanks to author and poet, Ellen Wade Beals, who has been gracious and supportive.

  4. James says:

    Fantastic work, as always, Bonnie! Beautiful, thought-provoking and inspirational. The kind of poem you finish reading, and immediately call your mother.

  5. Christine Lindemer says:

    Thanks for sharing, Bonnie! This is beautiful!

  6. Jenny says:

    There is a wonderful suspension of time in this poem that creates a feeling of freshness, like a restorative breath, before life resumes again on the other side.

  7. Finnian O'Connell says:

    Terrific blend of human and animal perception. I love how it flows in and out of wonder and the present!

  8. DonP says:

    Like a shadow fading into the evening darkness, and the back light of subject in the dawn, she has a mind that follows the imagination of a child sitting in a tree house, and just waiting for a bird to alight on her tablet. Oh, that a quill could write for her, and her expressions would continue in to the future, far beyond our years of enjoyment. Thanks for a wonderful piece.
    Paul, sure you are proud of this one. God Bless.

  9. Kelly says:

    Moved me to images of my wife with our children and what a wonderful mother she is and caring woman to all. This is what wonderful art does. It MOVES us to human connections of shared experiences and thankfulness.

  10. Jim Yates says:


    I can picture you in your kitchen looking out the window…

  11. Shaw says:

    Beautiful. A mother’s moment of introspection gently glazed with a surprise encounter, lightly mixed and allowed to rise. Warm, earthy, and tender like a fond childhood memory or one of mom’s fresh baked standards.

  12. Richard says:

    I can smell the lasagna, feel the damp apron, sense spring awakening, wonder about the elegant visitors. Your images bring me there effortlessly.

  13. Jane C Granata says:

    Beautiful metaphor. Always a joy to read Bonnie’s work.

  14. Jane C Granata says:

    Beautiful metaphor! Always a joy to read Bonnie’s work. Jane

  15. Jan Goldman says:

    What a gift it is to live in a place where such a contemplative moment, both literal and literary is just out the window. And what a gift it is to be gently reminded to stop, look and contemplate. More than lasagna nourishes in this poem.

  16. Suzanne says:

    Lovely images and evocative questions about motherhood and the stages of life. Thank you for sharing your poem, Bonnie!

  17. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks so much for reading. I am happy Bonnie let me share her work here.

  18. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks for reading — Bonnie’s poem puts us there in the kitchen with her.

  19. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting. It makes me happy to read your comments.

  20. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks for commenting and for reading the poem so closely.

  21. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting; I too felt the suspension of time and restorative breath.

  22. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  23. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting; hope it made many readers call their mothers!

  24. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks Bonnie. I am so happy you let me share your work and I look forward to sharing more.

  25. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, I too think it is about “comings and goings” of various kinds. Thanks again.

  26. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree with you — the poem is beautiful and evocative.

  27. Natalie says:

    Beautifully moving. It left me with a smile and warm thoughts! Love your work and love you!

  28. Steve says:

    I feel blessed to be married to Bonnie. I am immersed in her poems and writings daily!
    I get to hear them from their infancy to their incredible finished products.
    I am so proud to be so intimately connected to her!
    Ironically the morning we read this poem at Ellen Beals site, we had four deer appear
    and graze right outside the kitchen window. It was as if they were acting out Bonnie’s poem!
    I love you!

  29. Susan says:

    Well done, Bon! Your descriptive words come to life in this poignant piece.

  30. denney says:

    Fine juxtaposition of the deer mothering and Bonnie’s mothering..I too can smell the lasagna and feel the damp apron.

  31. Elizabeth Smith says:

    With sensitivity and skill you transport us between two worlds. I can almost smell the mix of spices in your sauce and feel the magic of the scene that is beyond your window.

  32. MaryEllen Letarte says:

    You’ve written a fantastic moment in time that you will always remember and I thank you for sharing it with us, your admirers. We miss you down here in Massachusetts.

  33. Tim Reny says:

    Wonderful, warm, loving words and imagery … keep it flowing Bonnie, you’re great!

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