Look at the Stars
See them, my son,
high above your head,
embedded in dark, like diamonds
against black velvet?
Look closely, my son, for this
may be the only chance
I’ll have to show you the Milky Way
which I watched often
when I was your age.I’m so busy, my child.
I hurry so — not knowing
for certain why
I must rush headlong
through life but realizing,
there is no other avenue.
Do you see the big and little dippers?
They’re there, aren’t they?
Just as always? Oh, child!
Take time somewhere between cartoons,
football and music to look for them.
They were beautiful,
once . . . .
I’m sorry.
What shall you tell your son?
© 2014 Freeda Baker Nichols

The Homegoing by Freeda Baker Nichols

“I don’t recall this house,” she said, in tears.
“It’s where you raised us children, Mom,” Tom said.
“Your honeysuckle vine is over there.”
He pointed to the corner of the yard,
where blossoms red clung to a green-leafed vine.
She shook her head. “I never saw this house.”Honeysuckle 003
“The old gum tree’s where Billy broke his arm,”
Tom said, “when he fell from the highest limb.
The pies you baked you cooled upon that shelf
and Daddy liked egg custard best of all.
I liked the chocolate–don’t you recall?”
No matter how he tried, she did not seem
to recognize one memory of home.
Her babies all were born in that big bed;
the drapery at the window, she had made.
Her husband built the table out of oak; that’s
where the children bowed their heads for grace.
But not a hint of recognition sparked
her eyes while she walked slowly through the rooms.
Tom took her hand and gently led her out
the door, across the yard and to the car.
He drove the miles in silence to the Home
where she now lives with other residents.
He left her sitting in her easy chair.
There is one thing that he is certain of:
she’ll know her home in Heaven when she goes.

© Copyright Freeda Baker Nichols


A U.S. Air Force Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter...

A U.S. Air Force Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter (s/n 52-2630) RAF Mildenhall. This aircraft is today on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boeing B-47A Stratojet 49-1902 refueled by Boe...

Boeing B-47A Stratojet 49-1902 refueled by Boeing KC-97. (U.S. Air Force photo) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You carried a duffel bag
and carbine rifle aboard the KC-97.
As your plane taxied for take-off,
I held our baby son
more tightly.
See you in a little while.
Your words beat inside my heart
louder than the plane’s big engines
which roared into another country
some hours later.
Your letters came regularly, at first,
then stopped
Missing in Action the uniformed
officers came to tell me.

Your name is engraved
on the Wall of Vietnam Veterans,
forever in my heart
and in the heart of our son
who enlisted yesterday.
See you in a little while.
His words echoed yours
as he departed.
My words stuck in my throat,
reached into my heart and
chipped at the ice caked there.
I watched another determined
young man report for duty
and I begged, oh, please
Dear God, please.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

Clean House

English: Partly black and white icon of broom ...

January swept in
after the holidays,
like dust
in front of a broom–
gray, cold, swirling.

Vacuum screamed.
I removed a sock.
Bubbie’s. He’d looked
for it before he left.
“Never keeps up with
anything,” his mother

Careful how you scold,
I wanted to caution my
but kept silent.

Found a spoon
Bubbie’s little sister
hid in the Mother-in-law’s
Tongue with half a

I fluffed the pillows,
swiped the table
with Pledge, replaced
a doily and candy dish.

Remembered my son
at Bubbie’s age, and . . .
later on, how handsome
he looked in uniform,
green beret covering
his military style
crew cut.

Memories swept in
gray, cold, swirling.

©Copyright, 2013,  Freeda Baker Nichols