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Pauletta Hansel: The Stepmother’s Lament

A mother, discarded,

is not gone.

She lives on,

marrow in the bones

of the daughter,

and the daughter,

too, still occupies

the organs of the body

once inhabited—

a fetal cell or two

or ten, pink within

the liver,

the hollow atrium,

the enflamed spleen.

I am telling you

the sentence is life.


Not so, my dear,

my once-upon-a-time,

my foundling girl,

my darling,

for you and me.

The pages of the tale

we were, slammed shut

and flung behind you.

I have no way but words

to sing you back

into the story


not flesh,

but choice

and chance.

Tell me,

what am I

supposed to do

with all this love?

Copyright 2021 Pauletta Hansel. Originally published in Literary Accents Volume 1, Issue 4, 2021.

Pauletta Hansel’s eight poetry collections include Friend, Coal Town Photograph and Palindrome, winner of the 2017 Weatherford Award for best Appalachian poetry.

4 comments on “Pauletta Hansel: The Stepmother’s Lament

  1. kim4true
    November 29, 2021

    Beautiful, Pauletta!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Huntington
    November 29, 2021

    And the last line. Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Noel Canin
    November 29, 2021

    Stunning poem! Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on November 29, 2021 by in Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , , .

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