A Poem


Family History


Grandpa took himself out

without one word. 

His pain, self-contained,

spread across the floor 

of the shed.

Its stain reaches

every generation. 


Mom slept years away.  

I was more her mother 

than she was mine.

She gathered cobwebs while

I waited for her to rise, 

or—with food and books—

crawled in beside her. 


We brought our baby home.

A red jewel, she shone.

She was every vivid thing, 

as I went black and white—

how could she be mine, 

how could I hold her in my paper arms?


Daughter, my patch of morning sun,

you call, I pick up,

you speak dimly—words 

stuffed in a drawer.

I come to you, hold you

in these arms grown strong, 

and tell you what I know—

it gets better.


Amy Higgins 

Amy Higgins teaches composition and creative writing at Washtenaw Community College and facilitates the newly-formed NAMI Washtenaw County Friends and Family support group for WCC students.

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