Joanne Holdridge: “Easier Way”

My mother knew my feet got cold

on ski slopes just to spoil her fun

she’d wait until I was whimpering in pain

to drag me out to the car, take off my boots

start the engine, blast the heat

order me to straighten out my three pairs of socks

hurry up and get warm while she snorted

in impatience and I felt worthless


Now I’m mother to a five year old

who only has to use the toilet

when there’s none around, doesn’t get cold

easily, but can’t sit through a meal

without breaking something

labors over a Do Not Disturb sign for his door

that reads this means you, Mom, NOT Dad

asks me to help him tape it up


and I want to tell my mother to forget the car

don’t make me wait with frozen toes

it will just take longer to warm them

and she’ll have to listen to me cry

while they burn in frostbite and itch

take me into the lodge, buy cups of hot cocoa

read a book while I huddle close to the fire

for once feeling cared for




Joanne Holdridge lives in Devens, MA and has recently published poems in Coal City Review, Illuminations, The Midwest Quarterly, and has appeared in a previous issue of GHLL. She has work forthcoming in California Quarterly and has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize.