Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Unearthed

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--For Sarah

As a girl, you used to paint,
low on the walls in corners of your room,
tiny trees and flowers, undetected.

Soon boarding school called;
I was left to rearrange
the furniture, unearth your garden. We spoke

later; you laughed at the standoffs
that sparked those small
rebellions. Such colorful pictures

defiantly raised your young
psyche. Yet you haven't outgrown
the consolation of such things:

now eighteen, home from school,
I hear you slip nights
into the bathroom -- the one I can't bear

to enter for the mess -- and crouch
on the floor in the corner. Now
instead of producing, you peel

the paper. Flowers fall off
in little strips leaving, beneath,
bare blue walls.

I knew my body would
betray me as I aged, yet death
is not the mid-life crisis I'd expected.

But what I'm most sorry for
is what my illness does to us:
strips me by layers of physical strength,

peels you slowly in little
emotional strips until
all that's left is bare and blue.

Yet you are the unlucky one:
soon my turn will come to go.
But you will remain and be forced

to rearrange, unable to speak
with me about things you may
happen to suddenly unearth.


Christine Orchanian Adler is the mother of two boys, ages 6 and 3, and a recent graduate of the MACW program at Manhattanville College. Her articles have appeared in Westchester Parent and Big Apple Parent magazines, and her poetry has appeared online at The Furnace Review.


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