blue mailbox

Halfway through a letter

When I finally learned the whereabouts of my mother, after 10 years of no contact, I was pregnant. And things started looking different.

Many of us gain new perspective on our mom-as-human once we audition for that same role, and I was no different. But my perspective was more distant, and probably more melancholy. How do you thank someone for your existence—and say hi, remember me?—at the same time? Like this, I guess.

will you close your eyes when you touch this envelope? will tears slip out from
underneath, or will your lashes be swallowed in the clench?

when your hand lifts slowly to your mouth, will it cover a long, moist sigh? or clamp your cheeks to your teeth?

more questions hang around the margins, silent, invisible and sour. childish secret-spy words written with milk.

do you have a lamp to hold this up to?

but what I want to say is this. my voice carries like yours, something that no longer bothers me. my nose has developed the bump. each spring, a sudden desire to putter in the yard overtakes me. i wash my hands after and see yours.

there are reminders of you every day. ten years empty of you, full of reminders.

i graduated college and married. english in the classroom, a scotsman in the church. my daughter hugs the legs of store mannequins and laughs like i wish i could.

i will slip this letter clanging into the steel blue box at the end of my street. why bother? maybe you have put me forever out of your mind. but maybe you were wondering.


patti carlyle

Writer, feminist and activist in Cleveland, Ohio. I curate a collectic blog of quotes, links, images and long form writing. Learn more or find me on Facebook, Twitter, .

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1 Comment

  1. Kat

    Your words are like magic. I read them and instantly feel the wave of emotion. I am struggling to find words to comment that can even share virtual space with yours. Always impressed by you…

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