A Poem by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas


When You’re Small and Your Father Won’t Wake Up

Not because she ever thought about 
suicide but because she happened 
to be the one who found her parents,
after swallowing handfuls of pills, one 
years earlier than the others. And because
her mother remarried when she was still
young and because that man did the same
after her mother followed in her dead father’s
footsteps, so to speak or at least some invisible
path that led them all to the other side. And for 
some reason unknown to her, as if the stars 
or fate had a cruel vision that she should be 
witness to the lifeless bodies of her parents 
after downing clusters of pills, as if they 
only saw an aura of light or a chance
at gladness outside their own mortal palms,
as if they heard one answer and never
questioned the swallowing of death, as if there 
was something magical about deciding their own 
ending and finding courage in requesting God 
to take you there, to a place without need 
or reason to breathe in air, she began 
to ponder if they considered who’d find them.
There, with opened bottles strewn haphazardly
around the floor, hands emptied but for wedding 
rings haloing fingers like golden broken promises 
before entering eternity. And she began to think
somehow facing that kind of loss made her love 
them even more, made her life and theirs extra 
precious, made her lament all the years she wouldn’t 
see them and she wondered why only one left a note, 
which she kept folded beneath her pillow. Only one 
said he was sorry, which made her think he’d
loved her enough to take one moment before 
to write it down, in blue faded ink, in shaky script 
on a tiny piece of now yellowed paper, all the words 
smeared from a lone tear, as if he didn’t want to, 
as if he might have reconsidered, as if he’d hoped 
someone might have found him 
before it was too late. 


05A8E1B3-2B79-4AF7-8E28-0318C11B8170    Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas lives in the Sierra Foothills. She studied at Santa Clara University where she was an English major. She is an eight-time Pushcart nominee andfive-time Best of the Net nominee. In 2012 she won the Red Ochre Press Chapbook contest with her manuscript: “Before I Go to Sleep”. She is the author of several collections of poetry including her latest book from Prolific Press, “Things I Can’t Remember to Forget”. She is the Editor for The Orchards Poetry Journal and a member of Saratoga’s Authors’ Hall of Fame. According to family lore she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson, or at least her mother said so. http://www.clgrellaspoetry.com


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