Joseph Choi CC
If you look into the eyes of the young, you see flame.
If you look into the eyes of the old, you see light.
Mother’s light guides me to her.
To her wound. I descend
into her balefire. Birth scraps
a scar on my neck.
I cleave to her, suckle loss.
As soon as I am born,
I start saying goodbye.
Nothing lasts. Except scars.
Love makes me her namesake,
her likeness in miniature,
her wound’s creation. My parents’
elixir. They raise their grail.
When a baby’s born, all mothers
sigh in unison, a butterfly effect,
rippling into all mothers’ souls then
to the planets and stars, searching for names.
My grandmothers and great grandmothers
were generous with births. Most had 6 or 7.
But there were losses. The two baby sisters
Mom lost. One to the 1918 flu, the other
to crib death a year later, creating a rift
in Grandmother Lilian’s soul that
mother could not fill, leaving mother
alone to share her room with the ghosts
of her infant sisters she never met.
The wound of the mother
becomes the wound of the
daughter. Just as the hope
of the mother becomes
the hope of the daughter.
My mother felt abandoned
by her mother, just as her mother
felt abandoned by her baby
daughters. Grief is a shared
malady. It drains the pond.
No amount of tears
can repair the hemorrhage.
Healing is not always glorious.
Though light guides and softens pain,
it can singe as a wild fire.
Creation of life and love
is as chaotic as star birth.
Barbara Harris Leonhard is a retired ESL Instructor who has regained her poetic voice. Her work appears in Free Verse Revolution, Spillwords, October Hill Magazine, Dark Poet’s Club, Vita Brevis, Well Versed 2020, Silver Birch Press, Amethyst Review, among others. Barbara earned both third place and honorary mention for two poems in Well Versed 2021. Barbara is currently marketing her first poetry collection, Three-Penny Memories. From that memoir collection, her poem “Cooking a Life with a Wire Spine”, was nominated for Publication of the Month at Spillwords Press in August 2021. Barbara’s blog: extraordinarysunshineweaver.com. Her poetry podcast: meelosmom.podbean.com.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.