Mother’s Day

David Dayton
1 min readJul 5, 2022


Woman in driver’s seat of a stopped car, looking distressed
An earlier version of this poem appeared in Southern Poetry Review, v20n1, Spring 1980

I’m tired of keeping my eyes
tethered to the same old roads,
seeing so much of so little of life
through a windshield.
I keep spying on my kids in the rearview.
I sneak peeks like they’re strangers on a bus:
ear buds plugged in, eyes glued to phone screens,
their thumbs poised then furiously tapping.

Yesterday, my oldest — somber, concerned —
asked what I’ll do after they leave
to be on their own. “You’re leaving someday,”
I bluffed. “You promise? No worries.
I’m sure your father and I can come up with a plan.”
Actually, sometimes I’m afraid of what I see —
my bored-stiff self in a spotless house, vigorously
wiping the hall mirror as though trying to erase herself.
She stops and gapes, shocked by how old she looks.
The heirloom clock’s relentless tick-tock
echoes in the empty hallway of her heart.

— Oh, you don’t want to hear this!
Poor me, poor me.
But when you sneak a look at my face
in the car next to yours at a light, don’t judge,
and don’t pretend to feel sorry.
You’ve got enough problems of your own, clearly.



David Dayton

See Here, you’ll find draft chapters of a memoir and drafts of poems to be published in a book on Amazon.