A poem for my mother

Mom

My mother in her bed. Photo by Callen Harty.

I always bring my camera

because I never know which visit

will be my last.

I greet you and casually mention

I am your son,

just so you know.

Words tumble from your tongue

trying to find a place to land

safely.

Words, words, single words

nonsensical rambling

tumble

into a chasm of silence

between

us.

You stare

blankly at the ceiling,

perhaps wondering how you got here

and where here is

and who you are

and why you are afraid of dying.

In the silence the clock counts every second

and I want to grab it

and throw it out the window

and smash it into bits

so that I can no longer hear it

passing.

Passing.

All is passing.

Instead it keeps ticking,

marking time,

mocking the silence

as you fall again into sleep.

 

I step away.

I’ll take your picture later.

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About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Both are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he has been an actor, writer, and director since 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events.
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One Response to A poem for my mother

  1. Coleen says:

    Beautiful!

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