#328: This is For the Birds


When she was exasperated,
my mother would say,
for crying in a bucket,
a variation of
for crying out loud,
which she would also
say sometimes. Or,
for Pete’s sake.
She never said
for Fuck’s sake,
or Jesus on a stick,
because she would
have considered them
obscene, and if my mother
was anything, she was
not obscene. I’m trying
to remember if she would
have ever said something
like, Hell’s bells. I think
she would not. In fact,
even Damn she would have
avoided in place of something
like Shoot, Darn it, or another one
of her favorites: this is for
the birds. This is for the birds.
If something was really bad,
unbearable, unfair, stupid,
or tragic, it was absolutely
for the birds. Like dying.
My mother’s been gone now for almost
two years, and I keep hearing
in her voice those immortal words:
This, no this, is for the birds.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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