Sunday 26 November 2017

At the Table

by Julene Tripp Weaver

A son who listens to his mother
sits quiet at her kitchen table
in the dark, in silence, with a cup of tea.
He listens to her day talk
the minutia of a housewife.
She is surrounded by sons,
a husband.

A mother who gives her life away
talks to this son about nothing.
This one son sits still, listens,
the night air hushed around them
the dishes put away
the chores done
the other men of the house asleep
or off in the world gambling.

A son who listens to his mother
asks nothing when her tears come
quiet in the dark where it is safe
with this one son.
Not like the other sons, or certainly
the dad, who has no time to sit still,
not man-like to sit quiet
with the woman who spends her life
on them. Tears come quiet in the dark 
without question. 

This son a solid block 
of soft wood, he absorbs her grief.
He is unlike the other men
able to tear
able to sit quiet in the dark
with his womb, her womb united.

This son her gift to this family
this special seed, so different,
so un-man-like, that he walks with other
un-man-like men. His brothers and his father
demand he leave, knowing full well
their mother will suffer
her heart will break.

So they sit in her kitchen
one last time.
They sit until their tears drain, 
and he is able to say goodbye 
to her womb.
Take his womb elsewhere
create a new family
walk un-man-like into the world
forced to gamble, he will find his truth
leave his mother’s fate behind

pray she too may find her way.

* * * * *

Julene Tripp Weaver is a psychotherapist in Seattle; she worked in AIDS services for over 21 years. She has three poetry books, Truth Be Bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS (Finishing Line Press, 2017), No Father Can Save Her (Plain View Press, 2011), and Case Walking: An AIDS Case Manager Wails Her Blues (Finishing Line Press, 2007). She is widely published in journals and anthologies. Her poems can be found online at: Anti-Heroin ChicRiverbabbleRiver & South Review, The Seattle Review of Books, HIV Here & Now; a creative nonfiction piece is published by Yellow Chair Press, In The Words of Women International 2016 Anthology. Find more of her writing at

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