I remember the winter when my mother left.
My dad and I walked bare frozen
ground on the Nebraska farm, no trees,
just a few broken stalks of corn.
“Your mom is gone,” he said
everything will be OK.”
I was nine.
We were visiting my grandparents farm.
I kept asking about my mother,
listening to family whisperings,
receiving no answers,
stunned by how quickly people disappear.
Years later, I learned from my father
the unspeakable truth:
She had been in a mental hospital,
too crazy to be mentioned,
too ill to be seen.
I still live in that frozen moment.
Even now, I never ask for help,
expect no one to listen.
W Roger Carlisle is a 74-year-old, semi-retired physician. He currently volunteers and works in a free medical clinic for patients living in poverty. He grew up in Oklahoma and was a history major in college. He has been writing poetry for 10 years. He is currently on a journey of returning home to better understand himself through poetry. He hopes he is becoming more humble in the process.