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fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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Middle-aged Daughter

(after Susan Vespoli)

I like to think she stopped searching
for the next hobby, the next career,
the next diagnosis.

That she’s thriving at work and has given up
smoking. I like to think she completes
her interrupted orthodontics

and buys a tiny house. That she
fills it with travel ephemera
before finally having the baby

she yearned for after the wrong time,
wrong father. I like to think she
creates costumes for her child

and produces brownies and dumplings
like the ones she used to display on Insta,
and she’s up to her fourth or fifth ukulele,

sharing her favorite songs, the ones
she used to post on Facebook, with
her daughter or son. I like to think

she’s waiting for the right time
to come back and surprise me–
to reassure me the red rope

in the garage was a bad Clue joke,
and nowadays a sullen teenager is
her only remaining demon.

Call for Entries​

Pulse Writing Contest​​

"On Being Different"

Laurice Gilbert has had poems published in many journals, anthologies and magazines across nine countries, after realizing that she hated networking and didn’t have the emotional resilience for the New Zealand literary circuit. She administered the NZ Poetry Society for a decade, has had three Pushcart Prize nominations, published two collections and was once shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.

About the Poem

“I wrote this after reading the sad story of a mother who lost her son to the opioid epidemic, and the poem she created as a result. I used her poem as a kickstarter for my own musing about what might have been.”

Comments

4 thoughts on “Middle-aged Daughter”

  1. I am reeling from a loss in our larger community that is far too close to the punch at the end of this poem. Thank you.

  2. Ronna Edelstein

    Your poem focuses on a sad reality: We parents wish, but our children choose their own paths. The miracle occurs when our wishes and their paths are the same. I am not a believer in miracles.

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