Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
In Parentheses

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It’s Saturday and we sit on the floor
piecing together LEGO® houses and flying cars

and my five-year-old asks what’s going to happen
after he dies. An old white man with a beard

emerges from the clouds of my imagination
with a few harps and our missing dog.

Eyes search my face for the safety of words.

It’s Sunday and he’s eleven. We sit at the kitchen table
finishing homework and he’s instructed

to use a hyphen or parentheses in a sentence
while describing what he hopes to be true

in what he knows of religion. He begins with admitting
to no belief, and in parentheses (but I hope

there’s an afterlife) states it is his preference over darkness.


Cheryl Wilder is a poet and writer living in North Carolina with her husband, teenage son, and year-old twin boys. Her work has appeared in Cream City Review, Hunger Mountain, Connotation Press, Numero Cinq, Architects + Artisans, and elsewhere. She studied writing at UNC Wilmington and Vermont College of Fine Arts.


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Fate led me to this tonight, of all nights, as my husband and I talk about how to shape death for our sons. I'm thankful to find and spend time with this salient poem.
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