A Letter To My Mother
By Mary Leonard

The flowers are white this year—

freesia, lilies—I cannot name

them all but I can name

my hurt. I cannot heal

when each week the wound

opens. I go to see you

but I need to see

without hearing. In sixth grade,

when Sister yelled, I slumped back

to my desk deaf to the world

and now I must make myself

deaf to you. I must

substitute words. When you say,

I should not be in an institution,

I must hear, I should not be

in the world because this world

is a holding place for dying.

I must not hear blame

and feel guilt. I must say,

I am sorry you are old. Sorry

your body is failing, but I cannot

go on this trip right now,

I cannot be pulled under.

I must not hear, I took care

of my mother and father and

you must, too. I must believe

I am taking care of you

and this is what I do to care

and then say these words,

Can you see the three white roses,

the freesia and the flowers

I cannot name? Do you love

the smell, the scent of love

I cannot name and you cannot hear?


If you wish to contact Mary, send us a note here at KotaPress, and we'll forward it on to her for you. Thanks for the contribution, Mary!


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