Mending Mother by Leslie Caplan

I looked deeper in
aching to abyss to understand
And I understoodtand
And I understood

Genre: Healing, Family, Relationship

Mending Mother by Leslie Caplan

I found a photograph at the bottom
of an unopened box
Crackling cardboard dried out from
being rained on
I reached in
Sifting through old letters,
scrawls of random thoughts,
poems that turned into
a thousand page book

I poured it out
onto the open floor
let the air in
let the stream of yellow light
spill in
and wrap around each keepsake

At the bottom,
under the fold and crease where the box
holds itself together
was a picture
At first I thought it was me
But it was you
as a young, budding woman
in a black and white capture
of your innocence
How hopeful your eyes gleaned
how deep the longing for what’s ahead

I held the photo in my hand
sat under the window and let the light
magnify your face
I saw myself
The face of the womb in which I grew
before I was even a thought
in your world
So long before an injection of insane
came in and corrupted your radiant youth
and the palpable wisdom
held in the cup your hand

So young and ivory skinned
Plump in cheeks and heart
And even though the picture was black and white
I saw the rosy tint of freshness
on your face
Your rich light almond eyes
I could see right through

You were lovely.

To the core of my holding
Soft before the world you inhaled
made you bitter to a pucker
Your hands mirrored mine
The shape of your brow
the shine of your lips long before
they dried out from all the salted cries you swallowed

You were beautiful.

I looked deeper in
aching to abyss to understand
And I understood
That somewhere along that paved line of your life
your heart caved
and shattered into too many pieces
to pick up and put back together
and you had to pretend
to be unbroken
pretend to love the man you married
and bore three daughters with
that you pretended you knew what to do with

And all you could do
was raise them inside
the shattered chamber you held together
for the sake of their survival
praying they’d thrive
in spite you

and I did.

I can speak for myself and say I did
And I took what was good in you
sane and whole in you
and I found my way
with what you did give me


and eyes so deep they blink
off the stillness of a photograph
and shed a tear so fertile
it grows life
mends and heals and breathes into
my whole life
within and without you
my life in honor
of you.

* * * * *

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