What could she teach him of loss?

Entering the Kingdom

As the boy’s bones lengthened,
and his head and heart enlarged,
his mother one day failed

to see herself in him.
He was a man then,
radiating the innate loneliness of men.

His expression was ever after
beyond her. When near sleep
his features eased towards childhood,

it was brief.
She could only squeeze
his broad shoulder. What could

she teach him
of loss, who now inflicted it
by entering the kingdom

of his own will?

– Mary Karr

Thank you to Katrina Kenison, on whose beautiful blog I first read this poem.

7 thoughts on “What could she teach him of loss?”

  1. Oh, this is stunning. And makes me cry. I recognize myself/my son in it. He’s a Freshman. A MAN. A baby. My first. So much a part of me, my heart, my soul. Yet so on his own too, living, learning, struggling, soaring, failures and triumphs all belonging to him…Just lovely, thanks for sharing! xo

  2. As the mother of three sons this hits me – as I’m sure you can imagine – right in the center of my heart.

  3. Oh wow. my son is only 4, but I find myself searching for the changes in his face already, watching and waiting for this. I dread it, but know it’s inevitable. So hard to imagine when he is so open and joyful and so attached to his parents, but I know it’s coming. xoxo

  4. Oh, this. Witnessing a son grow up washes up such different emotions than watching a daughter. Some feelings are the same, of course, but there’s something about that mother/son relationship…

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