Poems & Essays

29 Apr

Between the Lines, Erased

General/Column 3 Responses

The cloud of you hovers
in the space between the lines,
words written with urgency
at summer’s commencement
now lay dormant
at summer’s close.

Did I erase you with intensity,
trying to remember all the years
that composed your life?
I am left bewildered,
a shell of a mother
with only shadows
where you once stood
so small, and then
suddenly so tall.

Your sheets are laundered,
freshly stretched taut
over a lonely mattress –
I have never seen
your blanket untwisted,
I have never seen your pillows
fluffed, without the imprint
of your head, and lined-up

I stood in front of the dryer and folded
your last tee shirt last night.
I wonder if your thoughts ever wander home, or
if I am erased between the lines
of your new story.

Ellen Austin-Li is a poet, freelance writer, wife, mother, and friend who lives with in Cincinnati, Ohio. After dedicating 18 years to the nursing profession, Ellen is now devoted to writing poetry and prose. A long-time devotee of the power of words, Ellen’s life of service, combined with her colorful life experiences, informs her art. Involved in Women Writing for a Change, Ellen has been published in the L.A. Writers Tribe Review, the Maine Review, and Art Academy of Cincinnati’s annual poetry book, “For a Better World”. Visit her blog @ https://foreveryman.me/

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  1. sandra

    April 29, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    So poignant, but not sentimental (my favorite balance). As a mother whose first child is leaving for college in the fall, this resonated with me. Thanks for writing it. And yes, of course your child’s thoughts wander home. So will more laundry. : )

  2. Aarti Nayar

    April 29, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Hauntingly beautiful…exquisitely penned

  3. Beth Mills

    June 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Hi Ellen,
    The last stanza of your poem is so moving, heartbreaking, perfect.
    Beth Mills


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