Kathy Nelson, Letter to Mother, August 2013

Kathy Nelson

Mother, it won’t stop raining. A gray wall hangs
just beyond the nearest trees. Water stands
in emerald grass no one has cut, waiting for a dry day.
Damp clothes mildew over chairs on the covered porch.
Soon, I’ll have to wash them again, unworn. Sodden,
blighted vines droop in the garden.

Your heart beats like mine, wants what mine wants:
the small white butterflies lighting on the curved fingers
of leaves, the fat tomato gleaming in the sun,
the bright end of summer. We want mystery made flesh.

Instead, this deluge. The earth has forgotten shadows.

We speak in asides, tell each other nothing.
And time grows short. The paper says the question
is not whether but when this year will break
the rainfall record. All night, the fret of rain,
the steady drone erasing sleep.

Author’s Comment: As everyone who lives in Western North Carolina knows, it rained relentlessly in August this year. I began searching for the metaphor. Coincidently, during that period, each time I sat down to write, my mother appeared on the page. Finally, I accepted the metaphor as it was given and “Letter to Mother” presented itself.

Bio: Kathy Nelson spent her early childhood in Texas and visited extended family there well into adulthood. She has worked as a non-denominational healthcare chaplain in both nursing home and hospice environments. She began to write poetry seriously during this experience. Her first chapbook, Cattails, was published by Main Street Rag earlier this year.


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