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Ani Martin

Missing Mother

I sat at my kitchen desk 

searching for summer camps

when the alert caught my eye—

local potter lost. Missing mother.


I searched on Instagram and found her. 

Clover face, dark brown hair—she looked familiar. 

A line of sweetly dressed children, then a scroll 

of these small, handmade vases holding a single nasturtium

or twig of ceanothus. 


A neighbor told me more— 

one day the mother heard a voice.

Loud. Pressing at the insides of her skull 

following her from room to room.


No one believed her!


Like any mother 

I’m sure that she tried to hold on;

I’m sure she adored her children,

watching their kaleidoscope faces. 


Get down, go!

Leave it—the house, the children. 

Look away from the terror

on your husband’s face, pull yourself

like petals from a flower.




A few days later they found her

in a completely different neighborhood, 

sitting on a curb under a eucalyptus tree

saying she was not the potter,

or the missing mother. 

And it wasn’t like

her family could just retrieve her like a pet 

or grandparent with dementia

and put her back into

one of the thousands of days 

she’s lived alert to the needs and rhythms of others. No.


She’s locked away in a facility now

with a head as empty

as a ransacked catacomb

and a mind wandering loose and wild

with nowhere to go and no one

she has to be.

Jeffrey Alfier Matin_Bleu.jpeg
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