To The Woman I Will Never Know,

When you looked and needed, and no help came, I had help. When abundant nourishment came easily to my body and soul, it didn’t come to you. Medicine and money and food and everything that makes a birth and a baby and family happen happily, was mine for the plucking. Not you; why not you?

There aren’t enough words to tell why not. I could ‘drain the ocean dry’ trying to pen those words.

You felt the pain and heard the squalling cry. You held the babe, that perfection. Did I feel it, too, that day? I must have felt it. You birthed among the dust, the blankets, the blood, perhaps no doctor. What was I doing, that day? Certainly I cooked, laughed, changed my milk-white babies, drank coffee with cream, thick and rich. You were bowed low in your pain and aren’t we all bowed low and I am, for you.

Humbly I will give them everything you wanted to give. I will take their chocolate-sweet bodies into my arms, and they will be my own and love will flow, thick and rich and without end, mother-sister. The worry and the pain and the mother-self you wanted to give but could not, I will, by grace.

I will because that famed earth-orphan Jesus who walked dusty roads before your feet ever took their first step told us that pure religion—which I long for, oh, how I long for it—cares for little ones such as yours, mine. So with that grace that carries me and my own and all of us, I will care for them, with joy I cannot speak. And like e.e. cummings I carry your heart with me. I will always carry your heart, for it is my heart, their hearts.

There are no words but thank you.

Love, Beth