Poems & Essays

17 Jun

Memo to My Children

General/Column 2 Responses

They are different now, they are daylight
after the evening moon falls out of my hand
and rolls beyond the stars. I am not able

to keep them, to kiss their cheek and unravel
a dandelion in their palm where a wish
used to live windborne and unbranched.

But I say to them, I am still your mother,
I am the bone that breaks when you tumble
from a hollowed tree, I am the sorrow

of all prayers that hover unheard, I am
the reflection in a raindrop that lands
on your windowsill tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow

It will always be this way, though you may
never understand the home that was lost
when you grew up and found your place

in the world, the home that sits up and counts
the little teeth in a miniature mug saved
under the bathroom sink, where the tooth

fairy kept everything, even your pillowcase
with scribbled marker—your names
in five-year-old scrawl across the soft pale fabric.

O children, tell me how to forget the scent
of tangerine in your hair, your face pressed
against my breast after a bad dream—

your chair where I rocked you to sleep
to your favorite lullaby played on the old music
box still here on my bedside table—know, you will

always be mine as you walk through every
morning, I am there tethered to your shadow,
the rumble in your heart though you run free.

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas lives in the Sierra Foothills. She studied at Santa Clara University where she was an English major. She is an nine-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a seven-time Best of the Net nominee and the author of the following collections of poetry,: “Epistemology of an Odd Girl”, March Street Press, “Hasty Notes in No Particular Order”, “Letters Under the Banyan Tree” and “The Wanderer’s Dominion”, Aldrich Press, “Breakfast in Winter”, Flutter Press, along with several chapbooks, “Litany of Finger Prayers”, Pudding House Press, “Object of Desire”, Finishing Line Press, “A Thousand Tiny Sorrows”, March Street Press, “The Butterfly Room”, Big Table Books, “The Nightly Suicides”, Kattywompus Press, “Things I Can’t Remember to Forget”, Prolific Press, and the winning chapbook in The Red Ochre Chapbook Contest, “Before I Go to Sleep”, along with her latest collections slated for publication this year with Main Street Rag, “An Ode to Hope in the Midst of Pandemonium” and “ In the Making of Goodbyes”, Clare Songbird Press. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of online, print magazines and anthologies, including: The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Poets and Artists, War, Literature and the Arts. She is the Assistant Editor for The Orchards Poetry Journal and a member of the Sacramento group of poets called Writers on Air. According to family lore she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson. www.clgrellaspoetry.com

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  1. Wendy Williams

    June 20, 2019 at 4:37 am

    What a gorgeous poem about what is lost being a mother but what is always a gain–memories–and the knowing that a mother’s and a child’s hearts are still “tethered” though each is a separate life and continue into the future.

  2. Liz

    August 4, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    Such a poignant collection of memories imprint on me reading this. So much the commonality of motherhood. It always amazes me that we can still find such a personal way to express it and yet appeal to each anew.

    “… I am the sorrow

    of all prayers that hover unheard, I am
    the reflection in a raindrop that lands
    on your windowsill tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow…”

    –An amazing consideration in the face of their disappointments and sorrows– they become our own.


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