MOTHER, UNLIT
Tim Neil

When you left me that morning,
in the smother of July, I had just seen
you cry the empty, tapped-out cry
of a parent, tired and whittled
down to a wick
by the way things broke.
Bruce Springsteen was playing,
"Walk Like a Man," I think.
The bit about wedding bells,
and their peak of happiness.
Your hands were clasped
around the steering wheel,
as you seemed to ask,
How far a distance
have I travelled from my happiest?

I learned that day
steps are physical attempts
to escape our losses,
and sometimes, we fail.
Steps betray
the cynic we grow
in self-defense.
They prove
we live in hope
of moments worth
lingering in.
Almost two years ago,
I watched you dance
with your other son at his wedding.
You moved like liquid wax unmelting,
returning to an untouched candle,
its promise of light.






Tim Neil is an actor and poet from Baltimore, MD. Their work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Poet Lore, Washington Square Review, Los Angeles Review, Pidgeonholes, and Ligeia.



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