The Table

My mother loved that table which
She cleaned religiously
I do believe my mother loved
That table more than me

She kept it out of sunlight and
She kept it free from stains
And she would crank that heater up
Every time it rained

So that it’s wood face would not warp
And so we were not able
To take our dinners anywhere
But at the coffee table

And when we had some company
My mother she would hover
Putting coasters under drinks
A too attentive lover

And when they begged of her to sit
She would simply scoff
And stood above them as they ate
Holding dear her cloth

Although the table double wrapped
As if it was embalmed
And highly likely to survive
The next nuclear bomb

And days and years they did pass by
And I would soon discover
That table with care did hold up
Much better than my mother

One day we all did come around
By her bedside we’d stand
She summoned me up to her and
Pressed something in my hand

I looked down at the object there
I was somewhat astonished
To see she had bequeathed me with
Holy furniture polish

She said “Care for my baby please
The rags are in the drawer.”
And so she exhaled her last breath
And then she was no more

And so with intent to preserve
My mother’s memory
I thought I’d celebrate her with
An act of charity

I took a stroll on down the block
Into the unkempt digs
Of the woman living there
With 5 grubby faced kids

I saw one child’s dirty hands
Another eating glue
And told them all I have a gift
Especially for you.



55 thoughts on “The Table

    • Well, you know, maybe if she had just once shown the affection for me that she did for that table…ha, ha! I actually had a great relationship with my mother. The true story of how this poem was inspired is in a comment below if you want to read. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. Just a bit long to put in each comment!! Probably should have included it in the blog!!

  1. My mother loved her much treasured napkin more than me…took the bloody thing with her leaving me not a thing…life just isn’t fair. Of course I see you’ve played around with that well known Buddha saying here as well, ‘A child that eats glue will rarely consume wood’ – you’ve done him proud young Marissa!

  2. That table was the bane of your childhood! lol My aunt had all of her furniture wrapped in thick, clear plastic. And only in the most sacred of days were we allowed to sit on it. My goodness!

  3. Such a fun poem about life. We do cherish things, don’t we? I bought cheap furniture and let the kids chew it to shreds. Now as adults they buy cheap furniture and their kids have chewed my expensive heirlooms to shreds. I think once one of them puts a chocolate coated hand on the leather couch the others will have it cut down to shoelaces over night. the only thing that has worked so far is I tell them not to do that because that thing over there has bug poop on it. Bug poop grosses them out and they try to chew around it.

  4. We had a living room that we could not us accept for company,the slip covers were so thick that as you say could survived……… Great poem though it had brought back nightmares
    As always Sheldon

  5. I think you did the absolute right thing! We hold onto furniture and possessions as though they are what make life worth living. And if all that table did was torture you, than good for you that you found a way to torture it back!

    • Yes, well, it’s funny. I had a friend who became a complete hippie and I took over her apartment when she went off to live on a commune or some such thing. She left all her furniture there and she told us that if we didn’t want anything, we could just throw it out. Believe it or not, it was a valuable lesson in materialism!

    • Yes, this was based on a true story. A neighbor of mine was moving out and he was selling his mother’s furniture and she had a very well preserved dining room table and we were desperately in need of one. You could tell he would rather donate it then give it to us because he knew it would end up wrecked (because of my children) which, despite my best efforts, it did!

  6. Love it. Just loved it. But I did get an interesting image. You say that your mother “loved that table more than me.” I got the image of your mother loving you more than the table. Here’s a rehash of a verse:
    She kept me out of sunlight and
    She kept me free from stains
    And she would crank that heater up
    Every time it rained

    So that my wood face would not warp”

  7. This reminds me of….who is it?….was it Ray Romano’s parents who had their furniture in plastic? Or George Costanza’s? That generation really did believe that things were not to be used. The sentiment behind taking that table and bestowing it into the busy, grubby family is exactly how I feel about all my good stuff. Good for you!!

  8. I am admiring the way you laid out this story, like setting the table. The finish was perfect. I am sending you big smiles for your being such a good gifter, where the family will really use the table. Sorry about the undertones of sadness in your relationship with your mother, Marissa. This was a fantastic poem written like a story.

      • Probably literally, I’m afraid. People, even adorable children, never do it for me as much as things. It’s the Emma Bovary in me, ha ha–or not ha ha. I’m not cold-hearted (I like to think), just practical. Of course that’s what Emma thought too!

      • I get where you’re coming from. I never really liked children much until I had them…and I still don’t really like any but my own! And love them to death I do…yet…sometimes I envy the lives of my childless friends.

      • The funny thing is, I love kids in the abstract, I just think I would dislike my own, lol. Obviously, that is a joke but I mean the routine would get on my every last nerve!!! I am sure yours are delightful, though.

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