Motherhood is A Bright Torture/ The Way We Fall

Motherhood is A Bright Torture
By Stephanie Bryant Anderson

I have stood at the gates in Leningrad for 17 months
with all of Russia’s mothers. We have begged
from ground built by bones of the dead. Lev,
I was not meant to be your mother,
though I have loved you as all good mothers
love their sons. I have tried to crawl through
the gates like a great raging thunderstorm
asking dark clouds to release you like rain.
My jaws have locked like a stubborn dog,
and I lost the colors of my cheeks,
even the pale has turned whiter. I am the snow,
Lev, where they marched across to take you.
The tracks of their boots still scar my face.

You always thought
the fall of snow was beautiful.


The Way We Fall

for Charlcie

Will you not tell God
if I bury death’s bones
while no one is looking?

Will you not tell God
that I refuse to leave
my dark-haired sister,
my mirror girl?

Jake, at your funeral
I sat alone
on a wooden pew,
remembering the way
my sister and I
used to pick strawberries,
go to Slaughbach’s to buy jam,
and take long drives every Sunday.
She gave me vegetables
from her garden: jalapeño peppers,
because she liked to
teach me Spanish.
Will you not tell God?

You would not tell God
that I just lied,
that we never
did those things.

You would not tell God
I am standing
outside her kitchen window
wanting in, waiting
beside her husband
and her dog.

Jake, your brothers crashed
to the floor in front of your casket today.
Did you see the way they fell?

You did see, so no, you could
not possibly tell God,
and I can remain living
bright in the sun with her always.

Category: Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing, SNHU Student