It Was by Lesléa Newman

It Was

not a stroke
of genius
it was not

a stroke
of luck
it was

a stroke
of misfortune
that befell

my father
leaving him
crumpled

at the foot
of the driveway
next to the garbage

waiting
all morning
to be picked up

by Lesléa Newman, from I Wish My Father

Lesléa on Facebook

Twitter: @lesleanewman

Editor’s Note: Sometimes poems don’t need to be long or complicated to say something utterly true and heart-wrenching. [My apologies for the lateness of the post; the scheduler went wonky.]

My Mother Has My Heart by Lesléa Newman

My Mother Has My Heart

My mother has my heart and I have hers,
We traded on the day that she gave birth.
Each passing year the line between us blurs,
Until the day I lay her in the earth.
My heart in her now cracked and split in two,
Her heart in me now wound down like a clock,
As she and I turn into something new,
The love between us hardens into rock.
My heart in her a newborn mourning dove,
Still safely tucked inside its sheltered nest.
Her heart in me a letter signed with love,
A treasure I keep deep within my chest.
From this day forth, whatever else occurs,
My mother has my heart and I have hers.

by Lesléa Newman, from I Carry My Mother

Lesléa on Facebook

Twitter: @lesleanewman

Editor’s Note: This poem circles into itself, mirroring the emotional attachment of daughter and mother and the enduring love that surpasses death.

I Carry My Mother by Lesléa Newman

I Carry My Mother

I carry my mother wherever I go
Her belly, her thighs, her plentiful hips
Her milky white skin she called this side of snow
The crease of her brow and the plump of her lips

Her belly, her thighs, her plentiful hips
The curl of her hair and her sharp widow’s peak
The crease of her brow and the plump of her lips
The hook of her nose and the curve of her cheek

The curl of her hair and her sharp widow’s peak
The dark beauty mark to the left of her chin
The hook of her nose and the curve of her cheek
Her delicate wrist so impossibly thin

The dark beauty mark to the left of her chin
Her deep set brown eyes that at times appeared black
Her delicate wrist so impossibly thin
I stare at the mirror, my mother stares back

Her deep set brown eyes that at times appeared black
Her milky white skin she called this side of snow
I stare at the mirror, my mother stares back
I carry my mother wherever I go

by Lesléa Newman

Lesléa on Facebook

Twitter: @lesleanewman

Editor’s Note: This rhyming pantoum perfectly illustrates how form can support the content of a poem. The narrator sees her mother in herself in a sort of genetic pantoum, where resemblance is repetition.