Grief • Sandra Florence

Your mother in a pink dress will marry for the third time.
She searches for her mascara in the deep seat of a chair
and finds a little boy dripping egg on the upholstery.
Your brother slips on marbles, tiny planets on the floor.
In the dark
all you see is the red tip of the cigarette burning
and know at the other end
is your father.
And now your mother in the green lawn chair
waves through the dark
to a friend,
you and your brother
ride bikes
through heavy summer air.
You are standing at the edge of it.
Everything you have ever had and lost.
Why must we always lose our
warm cloth mothers,
our up-standing fathers,
must our sun-baked childhoods
turn dry and wear out?
Can’t we keep our special
pocket knife
our glowing
front-tooth-missing smiles,
our bangs chopped off, uneven
scabs on both knees,
mosquito bites?
Why must even these graces
be swept away?


Sandra Florence received her Masters in Creative Writing/Poetry from San Francisco State University. She moved to Tucson, Arizona where she has been teaching and writing for over 30 years.
She taught at the University of Arizona for eighteen years, and a number of venues throughout the community working with refugees, the homeless, adolescent-parents, women in recovery, youth at risk. She has particular interests in writing and healing, community literacy, and writing as a tool for public dialogue. She currently teaches writing and literature at Pima Community College, Desert Vista Campus.