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outside of checks
and thank you notes,
and invitations to the annual class reunion,
my mother doesn’t write.

she collects quotes
written by others,
though if she ponders
why they appeal
or how they apply
to her own life and self,
i don’t know about it.

i, on the other hand,
write.
some days more copiously
than others.
take today, for instance,
where my journal bleeds red
to match my heart.

the same journal that once was
little more than an
accounting of how i spent my time
each day.
now bears witness
as i write what i would love to read.
my honesty
and deepest thoughts and feelings
inked out on the page,
my journal the only one i trust
to receive and contain.

then i read an admonition from phyllis theroux
warning journal keepers to
keep in mind that children
might read one day’s entry as
the undying truth
without considering the context.
and i feel the weighty responsibility.

mark twain’s new 3-volume autobiography,
is about to be released
some 100 years after his death.
why so long?
he wanted the freedom to
speak his truth
without fear of
his words harming his loved ones
or driving wedges all around.

and so i can’t help but wonder
if i shouldn’t take the safe
road again
and go back to chronicling my comings and goings.
do i really want to risk saddling
my children
with discovering the essential me
through my words that accumulate
as i discover
the essential me?
i want them to understand me,
sure.
to at least see me as a complex –
perhaps even complicated –
woman of layers,
but what if i’m eternally
misunderstood and despised instead?

what if they never visit my grave
to change out the flowers?

maybe i should just amass a
collection of quotes
instead
and let my chiclets
assign meaning and likeness
as they will.