by Nancy Swallow Somerfeld

Made bed next to a wooden dresser

Mama was a brave woman. That’s how I see her life.

Most thought her meek, a stay-at-home wife,

A mother of six, knuckling out three meals a day.

We walked home for lunch: hot soup, piled

With croutons and ham on seeded rye.

All stacked up to feed my father’s office crew

That tromped up the stairs as soon as we were on our way.

They never knew she was fighting demon voices in her head

Even as she waxed the gleaming wooden floors

With golden Preen, washed the dishes by hand,

Made all eight beds with starched sheets, pressed,

That fragrant linen steam rose to hide her distress,

“Kill!” the voices screamed, but she kept singing songs

To drown out the voices that tortured her so long.

Because she was good. Because she was brave.

Category: Featured, Poetry