Published in I Carry My Mother (Headmistress Press, Sequim, WA, 2015).
The daughter’s heart aches, the daughter’s heart breaks
As she wakes and takes care of her mother.
Heavy with dread, she creeps to the bed,
Is she dead, or is she my mother?
Hands cold as stone, she feels all alone
Sitting bone to bone with her mother.
Eyes full of tears, mind full of fears,
How to get through the years without mother?
The months have been rough, and though she’s been tough,
Enough is enough for a mother.
This much is clear, the time’s drawing near.
Is there anything dear as a mother?
Her face thin and frail, her life growing stale,
Her body a jail for the mother.
Will her suffering cease? Will she ever know peace?
Can she bear to release her own mother?
Too frail to speak, so withered and weak,
The future looks bleak for a mother.
Though hope is long past, the daughter clings fast
to what’s left of the last of her mother.
Moon rising high, the daughter must try
to whisper goodbye to her mother.
Stars shining bright, her mother takes flight
Godspeed and goodnight, precious mother
Lesléa Newman has published 70 books for readers of all ages including the poetry collections, STILL LIFE WITH BUDDY, NOBODY’S MOTHER, and OCTOBER MOURNING: A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD (novel-in-verse). She has received poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation. From 2008 – 2010, she served as poet laureate of Northampton, MA. Her latest poetry collection, I CARRY MY MOTHER explores a daughter’s journey through her mother’s illness and death and how she carries on without her.