Poems & Essays

23 Nov

Chronicle of a Repentant Mother

Toddlers to Teens No Response

                              –For Gabriel

You call me into the playroom
where you’ve stacked blocks
on the floor, words tumbling off

your tongue as you try to explain
the grandeur of the castle you built.
Nice I say and turn back 

to the jumble of images abandoned 
on my desk. I was describing the day 
we climbed a real castle to the top. 

Rocks crumbled under your feet, 
the descent into the valley below 
steep enough to snatch the breath 

from a dream dropped over a wall. 
Fear cracked in my chest 
every time you neared the edge

and I played the imperious queen 
to your unruly subject, my arms 
locked, unforgiving as iron.

There were no poems towering
between us, no silences you needed
to scale in order to reach me,

only mother and son, entwined 
under the sky´s shimmering kingdom.
Now, I grapple with intangibles, 

how to stack word after word 
of love on a piece of paper too 
flimsy to withstand the weight

when you emerge, translucent, 
a phantom haunting the halls 
of my mind. Mommy, come see

what I built, you say, face 
flickering, a slip of a voice
falling, falling into a hollow.

Julie Weiss’s debut chapbook, The Places We Empty, will be published by Kelsay Books in July 2021. In 2020, she was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly´s first line poetry contest series and for The Magnolia Review´s Ink Award. In 2019 she was a Best of the Net Nominee. Recent work appears in Better Than Starbucks, Praxis Magazine, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others, and she has poems in many anthologies, as well. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children. You can find her on Twitter @colourofpoetry or on her website at https://julieweiss2001.wordpress.com/.

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