Friday, August 24, 2012

Christine Orchanian Adler: Middle Space

Early Sunday I hug my son off
to school; his cool-skinned arm
wrapped around my back, a warm,
whiskered kiss against my cheek.

After he’s left I get the call:
his cousin, a passenger,
car crash last night. At high
speed, tether-free, they rolled,

were thrown. “No survivors,”
my brother breaks down.
Devastation splits me open
like a rock in summer sun.

I imagine his son, the same
young age as mine; man-boy
with parenthetical freckles around
an ever-ready grin.

Evidence of another statistic,
the roadside stone, heavy
and unyielding as grief
is already laden with flowers.

In coming months I will drive
by the site. My heart
will clench as sunlight strikes
the stone without warning, glints

like a flare: there
then gone.

My son drives toward
his dorm, alive, still
in the world
of before, his future

stretched ahead like the bright
clear sky, awash with light. Dry-eyed
before absorbing the weight of my brush
with a mother’s greatest loss

I reach slowly for the phone
to bring him home.

This poem has appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal, Issue #15, and is reproduced by kind permission of the author.

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