By Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Little, under six, we three
cried our strep throats raw.
Only ice cream, smoothly vanilla,
soothed the pain.

In a sudden cure we leaped out of bed,
played like spring lambs. Our mother
sighed, finally slept.

Two years later baby sister grew listless,
legs cold and stiff in the night.
We pulled long white socks
over her thin shanks, piled on blankets.

I was seven, you were eight, she was five
when she died. We heard the grownups
whisper rheumatic fever.

Mother and father disappeared
in a cloud of grief.

We’ll always wonder
who our sister would have been.
We wonder, too, who our mother
would have been

had she not wandered the rest of her life
through the gray shadows
of her guilt.


Patricia Wellingham-Jones, former psychology researcher/writer/editor, has been published in journals, newspapers, anthologies, and online. Her most recent books are Don’t Turn Away: Poems About Breast Cancer, Labyrinth: Poems & Prose, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level and Lummox Press Little Red Book series, A Gathering Glance. She lives in northern California.



Loss  | Vashon | Services | Art | Poetry | Store | Contact

© 1999 KotaPress All rights reserved.  ISSN 1534-1410 www.KotaPress.com
Please direct comments regarding this web site to webmaster@KotaPress.com