(after a poem by Jane Kenyon)

The sick mother stayed in the car
During swimming, music, dance.
Not yet fifty,
She had learned the many ways
The able-bodied become just bodies.

Afternoon always came too quick
With its carpools and constant motion.
She was still the secretary
Of details and schedules. 
Still indispensable.

So in between finding the lost
Shoes or suits or permission slips 
And driving– always driving–
She tilted her seat back, tucked
A swim towel or bag beneath her head

And let the pain pill sweep her into freedom.
Free from the other mothers, lips pursed,
Pulling their children away from hollow eyes.
Free from the fathers, eyebrows raised,
Lingering to admire gaunt cheekbones.

Fever-flushed under windshield glass
She is free to dream a storybook self,
And a kiss to break the curse
Of endless doctors, tests, and drugs.
A fairy tale of never being sick again.


– by Amy Wray Irish

To read more see Creation Stories, a book of poetry and art by Amy Wray Irish