One month sinceby Carolyn Martin
the baby died and weeks-worn clothes languish
on the floor, days of dishes in the sink.
My ragged husband tries, but can’t get near.
He summons up, A short life is life.
As if five syllables could heal.
I despise his words and turn my back.
Weeks and friends shy away after casseroles
and cakes and awkward sympathy.
Calls stop and cards stack unopened in the trash.
My body hugs the indent on our bed.
We kept him warm and prayed.
Thirty days since and I cannot bear the sadness
I’ve become. But then his sister’s voice –
three-years old, brave – breaks the dark, startles me.
Pancakes, Mama. Please? As if my hands could find a way.
She doesn’t know I cannot stand her father’s eyes
or mop a floor or dust the last photograph.
Or how I scream, A mother never loses loss,
when no one wants to hear. Yet I claw my way
across unwashed sheets, past pillows pounded
down to half their size. Perhaps today one thing,
I surprise myself. Today. Perhaps. One.
* * * * *
"One month since" was previously published in The Delmarva Review and is part of Carolyn Martin's poetry collection The Way a Woman Knows.
From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin is a lover of gardening and snorkeling, feral cats and backyard birds, writing and photography. Her poems have appeared in more than 125 journals and anthologies throughout North America, Australia, and the UK. Her fifth collection, The Catalog of Small Contentments will be released in 2021. Currently, she is the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation.