Lesson

Whenever my mother, who taught
small children forty years,
asked a question, she
already knew the answer.
"Would you like to" meant
you would. "Shall we" was
another, and "Don't you think."
As in "Don't you think
it's time you cut your hair."

So when, in the bare room,
in the strict bed, she said,
"You want to see?" her hands
were busy at her neckline,
untying the robe, not looking
down at it, stitches
bristling where the breast
had been, but straight at me.

I did what I always did:
not weep --she never wept--
and made my face a kindly
whitewashed wall, so she
could write, again, whatever
she wanted there.


Anonymous submission.

by Ellen Bryant Voigt

Comments (1)

Some of mother nature's - or should we say here: in a natural mother's - lessons do not always come in their most refined forms - yet it is up to us to take the lessons, whatever their personal contents in the end, or leave them altogether, and stumble.