Poems & Essays

15 Aug


General/Column 2 Responses

We’re racing away from the finish line in a reverse marathon.
He’s nervous about college and the world that happens after he graduates,
and I’m struggling to know what it’s like to care for a child you can’t see
right in front of you.

We’re doing our best to prepare, stretching our lives away from one another
to understand what life will look like when curt phone calls replace
breakfasts with cornflakes and jokes. Or the days someone forgets to call,
and there’s radio silence.

We’re angry more days than not because we’re helpless to stop time from
passing both of us, and it’s adept at racing. Sometimes we scream or
look the other way when we’d rather just say we’re scared. Meaningless fights
waste valuable hours.

We’re going to win the race, not by going faster but by slowing down and
speaking intentionally. By admitting that there’s no baton to pass, no crowds
cheering us along. But we’re in this marathon together, on the same team, already
in first place because we’re family.


Sarah Clayville’s work has appeared in the Threepenny Review, Literary Orphans, and StoryChord, among other journals. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and currently works as an American Literature and Creative Writing teacher. Read her work at SarahSaysWrite.com or follow her on Twitter @SarahSaysWrite.

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  1. Susan Goldstein

    August 15, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    ” I’m struggling to know what it’s like to care for a child you can’t see
    right in front of you” …. that is so poignant, and true. That feeling becomes close to helplessness, and can break your heart as you watch your children marry, move away and begin their own families. It’s not that I resent their independence and happiness: it’s more like I miss being the main source of their happiness. I really enjoyed your poem.

  2. Pamela Jane

    August 17, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Thank you for this insightful post, Sarah. I really enjoyed it! There is an “after life” — after they finish college that is yet another surprise, with its own challenges but also rewards.


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