You are strong, but not tender. Words flung
at me, not the last but could have been. Mother
is near the end, small in her big bed. I say
nothing, wait to become an orphan. Your soup
keeps me alive, she says, fixing me with fierce
new eyes. She wants to die today and that soup
makes it my fault that she hasn’t. Do you
believe I love you? I lie. Yes, I say. And then,
Do you love me? Harder but my family is listening
and so I say of course I do. Bigger lie. How
could a daughter not love her mother? I want
to go to more of myself and the next day I will
begin, sit alone in the room with her sad little
purse of bones and tell her what I couldn’t say
while she lived.
Sharon Charde practiced family therapy for twenty-five years and has led writing groups for women since 1992. From 1999 to 2016, Sharon taught poetry to adjudicated young women at a residential treatment facility, creating a collaborative group with a local private school for eleven of those years. She has won numerous poetry awards, has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies in addition to her own seven collections of poetry, has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart award, and has been awarded fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, MacDowell, Ucross Foundation, and The Corporation of Yaddo. Sharon lives in Lakeville, Connecticut with her husband John.