Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Twice Buried

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Our mother never had you.
Still wanting, she had another,
and another,
and another. Some summers later,
plus a bit more, I arrived,
born in a final rinse.
I rarely heard your name,
but was told of its whiteness.

Our father died and we stood, a staircase
of brown heads on one side
of an unsliding door. We listened
to the rustle-slam rustle-slam and knew you,
not we, were first on mother’s mind.

As she hunted the file,
her fingernails clawed the guts
of the trunk. She bent deep,
her new habit, and her hands,
disfigured as they were, slid
the clipping from its vellum skin.

One call and you were moved.
Twice buried, never
born, still bone.
Slipped in the middle of two
graves, one occupied, one

Suzanne Farrell Smith’s work explores memory, trauma, health, education, and parenthood, and has been published in numerous literary and scholarly journals; recent pieces appear in Ascent, Hippocampus Magazine, and Crab Creek Review. An editor and writing teacher, Suzanne lives with her husband and sons on the Byram River border between Connecticut and New York.


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