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
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.