One Night From College

The following piece was presented at Jersey City Writers’ genre event – Jersey Plums Poetry Reading. Please enjoy.


One night from college
when I’d stopped eating
and kept sleeping
Too deeply sucked
into a downward vortex
Paralysis so strong
I could no longer lay
blame on my parents

I called my mom
to make it all better
Like she’d never done before
“I have problems of my own”
she snapped and hung up

I stared at the phone (utterly alone)
Knowing for sure (rejected)
that her soothing hand (so craved)
had never reached into the cradle

In that darkened dorm room (rebirth)
a relief so intense (released)
It had not been my imagination (reclaimed)
That she really didn’t care

32 and a half years later
on her death bed
She calls me close and laughs about a story
she’s been telling me for 15 years

“A girl called late one night from college
who had the wrong number and cried and cried
and I didn’t have the heart to tell her
She called the wrong mom. The wrong home.”

Mom laughs at our shared confidence
emboldened by decades of
believing I’ve bought into this story
I tuck her tenderly into the soft blue blanket
and smooth her hair off her brow
“Yeah, how about that, Mom” I say


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