The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Catharine Clark-Sayles – Yahrzeit Moon

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Catharine Clark-Sayles

Yahrzeit Moon

Full moon at 3 AM, bright and round,
ducking through fast-moving cloud,
wind wuthers through the chimney,
moans across the downspouts, rattles trees,

the house a creaky ship
in storm-frothed seas, across the valley –
scattered lights: porch lights, streetlights,
windows, a car turns up a twisted drive.

Neil posts it is his mother’s yahrzeit.
He asks for prayers. Minyans are uncertain
in a time of viral plague, as we huddle away
from smiles and touch, the comforts ritual brings.

My mother died three years ago,
I add a prayer for her, I can’t manage Hebrew —
but read aloud the English words:
May there be abundant peace from heaven …

Are the ones on the far hillside awake
to listen to the wind? Are they well?
Are they afraid? And who listens to us all?


Catharine Clark-Sayles is a recently retired physician (geriatrics) and a recent graduate from an MFA program in poetry and narrative medicine at Dominican University of California. She has published two full collections of poetry with Tebot Bach Press (One Breath and Lifeboat) as well as a chapbook from Finishing Line Press, Brats, which won the Poetry of Modern Conflict Award this year.

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