My friend’s mother gropes a metal grocery cart,
yells at sidewalks, flails her broad arms to the moon.
They tell him she talks to waves—
he waits for the breaking
of her dissonance.

My friend loves a girl but can never
have her home for dinner;
the quiet of family wrestles in his mother’s brain—
she rocks at the kitchen table,
legs crossed, right foot numb from blunt stamping
until the noise is all she feels.
She takes to the streets,
salvaging small, coarse garbage,
cart-worthy shards of brown glass.
“The river’s skin,” she repeats to damp air.

His mother twists her face with the wind,
steps forward and backward five times,
stops to suck the rain:
chin up, lips pucker, eyes close and breathes.
My friend loves rain—
cool layers clean his deep river cuts.
When the bottom drags him in,
the quiet tends.

Published with permission by the author. “Lady” previously appeared in Blue Earth Review (Spring 2010 print issue).

Photo by Simon Clarke

Theresa Senato Edwards is founder, editor and publisher of Holly Rose Review. She has poems published online at Pirene’’s Fountain: A Journal of Poetry, and forthcoming at Touch: The Journal of Healing. Other poems appear in the 2010 print anthology of Boxcar Poetry Review, the 2008 print anthology of CircleShow (SevenCircle Press), and online at Stirring, Press 1, decomP, Clean Sheets, Chronogram, and elsewhere. Edwards seeks a home for her first poetry manuscript, Voices Through Skin, from which the poem, “Lady”, is taken. She also is working with Lori Schreiner on a collaboration of work that can be found online at AdmitTwo, Autumn Sky Poetry, and elimae, an electronic literary magazine. Her third book of poetry, tentatively titled, Sister Sequence, is a work in progress. When she’s not busy writing poetry, Edwards teaches literature and tutors writing at Marist College.

[Poetry Break Editor Note]

42 thoughts on “Lady”

  1. Susan Heinlein

    Fabulous Teresa. I know a thing about the mentally ill, and you beautifully captured the pain, loss and confusion that they must feel. Brava!


  2. Theresa,

    I love this poem. The images are so visceral to me, especially "stops to suck the rain." It's a beautiful portrait poem, as well.

    I love you, TT!!!

  3. Rhonda Palmer

    Glad to see this published–it's a powerful description of the hard, almost impossible work of loving someone with a mental illness. I love the water imagery–that river bottom feels cool and clean and permanent. Good writing!

    1. Theresa Senato Edwar

      Thanks so much, Rhonda; the river bottom is one of those paradoxical places, isn't it???

      So glad that our paths, as well, have met because of poetry and Holly Rose Review!


      1. Theresa Senato Edwar

        Here I go with my own info:


        Thank you so much for all your love and support of both me and my writing!


        ps–and, i know, because you're so busy, i'm glad you took the time to comment, even if it was on my own computer! love ya!

    1. Theresa Senato Edwar


      So my wonderful friend responded on my computer, and I forgot to change her info to mine. Sorry….here we go again:


      Thanks so very much for reading, appreciate your own reaching out!


    1. Theresa Senato Edwar


      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Eric. I hope you and yours are well. It’s been quite some time since Goddard!


  4. Theresa Senato Edwards

    Thank you very much for reading, Jan. And forgive me for asking, but do we know each other from Goddard, as I see you have a Goddard e-mail? I’m so sorry that I don’t recognize your name, but I so appreciate your comment to my poem.


  5. I was thrown by what reads as faulty parallelism in S3L4. It was hard for me to get back on track after that. For what it's worth, as they say.

    1. Theresa Senato Edwar

      Thanks very much for reading and commenting, Faye. "Sister Sequence" is a bit more experimental, so we'll see what evolves from that process.

      Love ya!


  6. Theresa –
    Wonderful imagery. I love the raw feeling of the poem. Someone knows the pain of those mothers. That was my grandmother.
    Very nice.

    Carol Thomas

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