“Recycling the Travel Section” by Elizabeth S. Wolf

Elizabeth S. Wolf


My family always read the newspaper.
When we sat for dinner—6:30 every
weeknight—you better know your news.
Sunday papers were a special treat.

For years after the secret was spilled
my mother separated the Travel section
from the Boston Sunday Globe and sent it
unread to recycling. If she had known, she said,
she would have traveled. With her children.
My mother loved London and always
wanted to return. You can’t get that back.

And all that time estranged
from her children, fighting her own
decline. Some things can’t be fixed.
Splintery shards remain, like the glasses
that slipped from her numb hands onto
cold hard floor.

Ma, if you’re still listening: I have taken
my daughter to the ends of the earth.
California. London. Aruba. India. We saw
sunrise at the Taj Mahal. We have hiked
in the Amazon rainforest, and on top
of the Great Wall of China.

Ma, if you still care: I carry a piece of your
jewelry with us, wherever we go.

from Did You Know?
2018 Rattle Chapbook Prize Winner


Elizabeth S. Wolf: “I write because telling stories is how we make sense of our world, how we connect with our world, how we heal, and how we celebrate. I write to find the sliver of truth within the plethora of information; mining my monkey mind for a trace of grace.”

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