overview published poems unpublished poems


My mother was a keeper of secrets
They dwelled in her dormant like soft-spun worms
not quite ready to burst into moth
We didn't know then, my brother & I
that secrets were being kept from us, we only knew
when we approached certain subjects
something in our mother changed
A soft fuzz draped her iris
A slight constriction held her throat
And we, loose-ended, incomplete
asked questions whose answers were pieces
that should fit the puzzle
but didn’t
What decided our mother to tell them, these secrets?
doling them out through the years
like stingy drops
from a leaky tap?
Was it our age, or the year
or a sneaking suspicion that our doubts
had outstripped our belief?
Whatever, they came with a flick of the wrist
like some object carelessly left behind
a stray comb, or a glove
"Oh, didn't I tell you?
My father was Jewish."
"Oh yes, thought you knew. I was
married before."
"That's right. Your brother and sister?
Daddy's not their real Dad."
Each secret burst our lives like
a stone hitting glass
Each secret opened doors,
and shut so many others
Like a double exposure, one photo
bleeding into another
The truth superimposed itself
on the life we thought we had lived
Our childhood only partly our own
and partly our mother's