Poems & Essays

17 Apr

Letter to a Woman I’ve Never Met

General/Column One Response

You are usually so far from my thoughts,
just a flash that occurs to me
as I push an elevator button, switch off a light—
like tripping on an elevated patch of concrete.

But six years ago, you made both our lives
change forever, in ways neither of us could ever understand.
Calls are made, babies change hands,
involved parties never meet.

We are the same age, now 36.
We were both old enough to know better then,
older still now, old enough to know so much more.
Do you ever wonder about this girl that binds us both?

If she stood between the two of us, I am all she would know.
Your face would be like looking into a distorted mirror,
an aged version of hers, but it is my
face she presses against as we peer into a book.

She’s grown brave and tough, a string bean of a girl
who does a mean cartwheel and can spout dictionary
definitions. We are proud, though we can’t claim responsibility
for any of this, her growing into perfection.

We don’t honor you, though probably we should.
All we have of you is a name jotted in a file folder,
your genes coursing through our girl’s small frame,
and the knowledge that you wanted this.

You and I alone, everyday, as we wash a countertop,
scrub a stain on a shirt—both of us learning how to be.
You, arms emptied of one more thing to hold,
and me, filled to bursting.


Jennifer Judge has taught creative writing and composition at King’s College for 19 years and is delighted to be the adoptive mother of two girls. Her work has been published in Rhino and is forthcoming in Literary Mama and Blueline.

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1 Comment

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  1. Judith Hannan

    April 18, 2017 at 1:29 am

    Raw and honest Jennifer. I am not in your position but you made me feel I was there.


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