By Terri Kirby Erickson
Her knees nearly buckle with the weight of a new star,
but oh the sweet relief when one of them falls or when
the sun pulls up its rays like rope ladders because light,
even light is too heavy for her to carry now. And look
at her loose grip on the baby’s stroller, as if any minute
she might let go. Other mothers’ eyes follow their children,
glisten like the wet clay of a newly fashioned Madonna,
but her expression never changes. She sees nothing but
the dull, brown jar where she spends her days alone, its
walls slick and impossible to climb, the lid screwed shut—
feels nothing but cold glass against her back, the tightening
in her chest when she tries to breathe what little air is left.
Terri Kirby Erickson is the award-winning author of three collections of poetry, including her latest book, In the Palms of Angels (Press 53), winner of a 2012 Nautilus Silver Award in Poetry and the Gold Medal for Poetry in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the 2013 Poet’s Market, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, JAMA, The Christian Science Monitor, storySouth, and many other publications. She lives in North Carolina.
Editor’s Note: Terri Kirby Erickson has a way with direct, straightforward narrative poetry. You are at once within the scene she is painting, carried along by her skill with the lyric and the image, amidst a palpable world where you feel you could actually pluck the fruit from the trees of her invention. Today’s poem captures the inner workings of a sometimes secret condition, yet Erickson’s words bridge the shame gap by giving rise to empathy in the reader.
Want to see more by Terri Kirby Erickson?
Terri Kirby Erickson’s Official Website
Press 53 Author Page
Buy In the Palms of Angels on Amazon
Buy Telling Tales of Dusk on Amazon
Buy Thread Count on Amazon