Mom, your thick envelope came on Friday
no birthday, no occasion—a surprise.
A note about your downsizing and cataloging—
preparations for death wrapped around
a packet of letters you’d written
on thin blue air mail paper
at age twenty-seven when, longing for children,
you went to France for eighteen months
hoping to find a father for us there.
Mom, I savoured the letters all weekend,
letting you, my mother not yet a mother,
speak to me.
How much we were alike then.
How much I have taken for granted
because I never heard your voice—
the one you had before marriage, children, and
all the things you wanted squeezed its passageway
into a thin, repetitive strain.
Mom, I’ll call you tonight.
I will say
I wish I’d seen these when I was twenty-seven
wish I’d known you asked all the same questions of life.
Your words will tumble out,