Last winter I walked with my mother.
There were cracks in my marriage
or at least in my heart.
I was staying with my sister
five hours away from
the epicenter of my pain.
We moved slowly,
my mother and I,
bound in boots and cumbersome coats.
I described my discomfort
through a magnifying glass,
enlarging details while unintentionally
ignoring the larger picture.
My mother was bent
in attention and thought,
her expression seemed sad,
or maybe thoughtful.
She reflected briefly on the thicket of her life,
her self often obscured by the tangle of
the thorny needs of others.
I felt impaled by a familiar stab
of excruciating empathy
then released it immediately.
It hurt to hold.
“If I could do it again,” she said,
“I would never have had children.”
Although I enjoy them,
I will never have children.
I have no faith that I would not pass on
my tainted inheritance
Pink sky melted to red.
The cold light of stars effervesced in the east.
I did not know then if
I could go home to the questions
that had burned through
every layer of me except
In spite of this upheaval
I felt comfort.
I knew I had time
to evolve unfettered by others.
No small souls would go unnourished
nor be unintentional casualties
in emotional warfare
as I had been.
We turned back west,
faced the fading fire and
I felt safe in the knowledge that
I would find my way and
my blessed unborn
would never be
accidentally crucified by my agony.