Milk dripped from the counter,
And seeped between the floorboards.
Gretchen froze as she heard
Her mother walk through the kitchen door.
Perhaps it was because she was tired,
Or because she was only five,
But as soon as her mother walked in,
Little Gretchen began to cry.
“What’s all this?” her mother said,
In a firm, but gentle tone.
“Oh, Gretchen, you’re too little
To be doing this alone.”
She pulled a rag from the drawer
And started sopping up the milk,
Then she wiped Gretchen’s eyes
With a handkerchief made of silk.
Gretchen woke with tears still drying on her face,
She felt strange and fuzzy,
As if she were out of place.
Then the dream came back to her,
And she understood her tears.
The dream was an old memory,
Gretchen’s mother had been gone for years.
As she laid there, wide awake,
The memories came flooding in.
She remembered band-aids, and blankets,
And kisses on her nose and chin.
Gretchen remembered her mother’s smile
And the way she had said that day,
“There’s no use crying over spilled milk,
I know you didn’t mean to. It’s okay.”
She couldn’t sleep after that,
So Gretchen went looking for something to eat.
She wanted cookies,
But she poured herself a bowl of mini-wheats.
She was in a sleepy haze,
Which made her not herself,
And as she reached in for the milk,
She fumbled, and knocked it off the shelf.
Milk poured onto the floor,
Quickly moving across the room,
In her state, instead of a mop,
Gretchen grabbed the broom.
As she swept the milk around,
She felt tears well in her eyes.
“No use crying over spilled milk,”
Her mother’s voice echoed in reply.
“There’s no use crying over spilled milk,”
Her mother used to say,
But Gretchen’s mother was not here,
And so she did it anyway.
April 23, 2013
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.