A Practical Mom

By Amy Uyematsu b. 1947 Amy Uyematsu
can go to Bible study every Sunday
and swear she’s still not convinced,
but she likes to be around people who are.
We have the same conversation
every few years—I’ll ask her if she stops
to admire the perfect leaves
of the Japanese maple
she waters in her backyard,
or tell her how I can gaze for hours
at a desert sky and know this
as divine. Nature, she says,
doesn’t hold her interest. Not nearly
as much as the greens, pinks, and grays
of a Diebenkorn abstract, or the antique
Tiffany lamp she finds in San Francisco.
She spends hours with her vegetables,
tasting the tomatoes she’s picked that morning
or checking to see which radishes are big enough to pull.
Lately everything she touches bears fruit,
from new-green string beans to winning
golf strokes, glamorous hats she designs and sews,
soaring stocks with their multiplying shares.
These are the things she can count in her hands,
the tangibles to feed and pass on to daughters
and grandchildren who can’t keep up with all
the risky numbers she depends on, the blood-sugar counts
and daily insulin injections, the monthly tests
of precancerous cells in her liver and lungs.
She’s a mathematical wonder with so many calculations
kept alive in her head, adding and subtracting
when everyone else is asleep.

Amy Uyematsu, “A Practical Mom” from Stone Bow Prayer. Copyright © 2005 by Amy Uyematsu. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press. www.coppercanyonpress.org

Source: Stone Bow Prayer (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Amy Uyematsu b. 1947

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Living, Health & Illness, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Religion, Faith & Doubt, Christianity, The Spiritual

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Amy  Uyematsu

Biography

Poet Amy Uyematsu was raised in southern California by parents who had been interned in American camps during World War II. She earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles.
 
Uyematsu’s poems consider the intersection of politics, mathematics, spirituality, and the natural world. She is the author of several poetry collections, including Stone Bow Prayer (2005), Nights of Fire, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Religion, Faith & Doubt, Christianity, The Spiritual

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.