I had convinced myself
I didn't want to see my dying mother
to spare her my unanswered questions, like
what happened to the baby?
who was that drunk man that came
one morning and wouldn’t leave the kitchen?
where did they take Grandpa Phil?
why wouldn’t the Ellingsworths talk to us?
But she was 91, spoke in whispers
when she spoke at all.
One day when I sat at the kitchen table
staring at the garden in the rain
I knew. I wasn’t sparing her,
I was sparing myself, as if a bridge so frail
might collapse under both our weights.