Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
How to Explain Death to Your Daughter

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Measure out the exact, brutal words,
small enough to fit her years.
Dead. Heart. Breath. Gone. Sad.
Keep for yourself your understated tricks.
Allegories are, to her, half-truths.

The loss of a dog, a mosquito, a man,
have equal weight to her. She will ask
and you will answer again and again
for days, weeks. This is the talk of the season.
Her purple unicorn will perish in the night.
Say goodbye to Glitter, Mom. It's okay to cry.
Pretend her death game doesn't freak you out.
Don't you play it, too, and call it art?

Teach her what to do when she loses you.
Don't say Heaven. You don't believe it,
neither will she. Say anything but sleep.
Pray she doesn't ask if you will die—
that's for another day. Don't say pray.

Kate Kearns is a Maine poet and earned her MFA from Lesley University. Her chapbook, How to Love an Introvert, is available at Finishing Line Press. She’s polishing a full-length manuscript, whose contents have appeared or are forthcoming in Soliloquies Anthology, Maine Women Magazine, Aurora, Gyroscope Review, The Perpetual You, and elsewhere. Kate also runs a website called Chick Lit THIS (, where she posts first chapters of largely unknown written works by female authors.

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