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What mother wants to remember

the death of her child?

One happened in August

when the sun was fierce and

the air stood still.

Grass burned and

lakes dried out, and he

no longer wanted to live.

Another, in February

after a short illness;

an ice storm locked doors,

froze flowers;

bent, broken, they

lay on the ground,

mourners footprints

covered by ice,

the earth unmoving..

Birthdays, Christmas, 4th of July,

other holidays.

It seems every month is a cause

for grief.

And I ask myself,

Is this why I’m here—

to guide and love and cherish,

to watch them die

before they have

a chance to live,

to let them go

before my own life


(c) Mary Harrison, October 30, 2012



If you see an old woman
trudging alone
through the mall, don’t hide
in Dillards
behind the shelves of razors,
moccasins, aftershave.
She’s been searching for you
grave-filled days
ghosted with blue-jeans,
soft cotton sweats–faded
charcoal and blue hanging
on racks,
aroma of strong coffee like her
dead son loved
from the food court
through crowds of shoppers,
the coffee’s bitter taste,
her son’s eyes,
his smile in other faces.
Grief takes her home
where she pours liquid
Tide into the washing machine,
brews strong coffee,
waters her son’s philodendron,
wraps herself in thermal
against the cold
slipping through the cracks.

(c)Mary Harrison, 1993