Middle Space

Christine Orchanian Adler


Early Sunday I hug my son off

to school; his cool-skinned arm

wrapped around my back, a warm,

whiskered kiss against my cheek.


After he’s left I get the call:

his cousin, a passenger,

car crash last night. At high

speed, tether-free, they rolled,


were thrown. “No survivors,”

my brother breaks down.

Devastation splits me open

like a rock in summer sun.


I imagine his son, the same

young age as mine; man-boy

with parenthetical freckles around

an ever-ready grin.


Evidence of another statistic,

the roadside stone, heavy

and unyielding as grief

is already laden with flowers.


In coming months I will drive

by the site. My heart

will clench as sunlight strikes

the stone without warning, glints


like a flare: there

then gone.


My son drives toward

his dorm, alive, still

in the world

of before, his future


stretched ahead like the bright

clear sky, awash with light. Dry-eyed

before absorbing the weight of my brush

with a mother’s greatest loss


I reach slowly for the phone

to bring him home.




Christine Orchanian Adler is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in various publications and anthologies across the United States, as well as online at LiteraryMama, Cahoots, The Furnace Review, SavvyMiss and elsewhere. Her writing includes book reviews, poetry and articles on health and family. She lives in New York with her husband and two sons. Her musings and more can be found at www.feedalltheanimals.blogspot.com.