Tom Mallouk’s speaker reaches out in sympathy to the mother of his grown child in this emotionally impactful poem.
If, as the Navajo say, birth leaves a hole
in a woman’s soul, how long does it take to fill?
For some time now your spirit has hovered down the hall.
Always one eye on the door, one ear for a tumble from the bed,
one arm over the side to comfort our child,
who slumbers on the floor, driven from sleep by dread.
Now, she is beyond your reach. Your emptiness is full.
I fear your grief begets more grief. You turn toward me,
your arm drapes across my chest. In your sleep
a sigh escapes, I hold you close, reclaim your breath.
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