Touch: The Journal of Healing


Like My Mother in the Morning

    by Janet Sunderland

On summer mornings my mother watched birds.

Not first thing in the morning, as I watch,

slow to wake, slow to peel myself

from the civility of sleep and dreams;

not like my mother who named Cheerios

her morning friend and greeted each dawning

with a curious regard.  She watched birds

mid-morning rather, her time of silence

in the pause between one meal and another,

between the rush of children sent to chores

and hungry farmhands filling a table

set and ready beneath the Dutch Elm tree.

She held a moment, brief quiet, her cup

filled with the morning’s coffee, warmed over,

and she watched, not as I watch to measure

each day’s grace by the dance of birds feeding

at my second-story window, but to measure

the progress of seasons and a promise-

a promise beyond what she saw or would know.

I know too much: know grief in city windows

and tears beyond my door, know sadness lies

hunched in corners like hopeless rags needing

airing.  Yet the birds dart at my feeder

on sunlight-washed wings, gather to chat

on the railing.  I hold my coffee, still

fresh from the pot, and dream my mother’s silence,

dream her promise beyond what I know.

© 2010 Janet Sunderland

Janet Sunderland lives in Kansas City with her husband Cliff Kroski. Her work has appeared in The Writer, KC Voices, The Rockhurst Review, Lalitamba,, Imago Dei, and others. She’s an instructor at Avila University and Longview Community College and is completing a spiritual memoir, Standing at the Crossroad.


Copyright © 2010

Touch: The Journal of Healing

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