The Northville Review
an online literary journal
Letter to Mom On Her 82nd Birthday

Fredrick Zydek

Dear Mom: Here in Brunswick, morning
came wearing a cool wrap and mist
in her eyes. Fog often lifts from Grove
Lake and inches its way to our place
just before the sun opens its single eye.

We dug up the rest of the potatoes
this morning. Coincidentally, eighty-two
were removed from the ground.
I think it’s a sign that even the earth
wants to celebrate your many trips

around the sun and the day that spun
your journey into place. We baked
a lemon cake for you. Later tonight
we will light candles and sing the birthday
song although you’re miles from this farm.

Coyotes came up around the house
last night. Our Keeshond is in heat
again. That always brings the wild dogs
in from the woods. I had to go out
and set off firecrackers to send them

back across the fields so the lady
could do her moral duty on the lawn.
Today we will gather cucumbers, green
peppers, zucchini, and onions from
the garden. By nightfall they’ll be relish

in hot pint jars waiting for their lids
to seal shut. There’s magic to putting
food by. It’s a trick I learned at your side
and one of the reasons I like celebrating –
that life brought forth a creature like you.

About the author

Fredrick Zydek is the author of eight collections of poetry. T'Kopechuck: the Buckley Poems was recently released by Winthrop Press. Formerly a professor of creative writing and theology at the University of Nebraska and later at the College of Saint Mary, he is now a gentleman farmer when he isn't writing. He is the editor for Lone Willow Press. His work has appeared in The Antioch Review, Cimmaron Review, The Hollins Critic, New England Review, Nimrod, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Yankee, and others. He is the recipient of the Hart Crane Poetry Award, the Sarah Foley O'Loughlen Literary Award and others.