One bare year past my wedding, my mother and I drive
the Taconic toward White Plains. But someone’s tire tracks
gouge the green verge, and traffic’s stopped in both lanes,

so we stop too—a man taps our window: bad accident,
driver rolled into the road. My mother looks at me. What
should we. . . someone lies dead, or bone-broken, bleeding.

We grab a blanket, car’s first-aid kit. Hurry toward
the wreck, where two or three stand about the driver.
We kneel beside him. It’s a young man—it’s my wedding

photographer. My mother holds his hand, calls him back
into this life. Reminds him of his name. I tuck the blanket
by his ribs, feet, his body shaking into shock. I witness

how my mother mothers him. See what it is, will be,
will cost, to mother. Inside my body coils a sac of eggs
that will be my sons, sons for whom I will kneel beside

an icy soccer field, a gurney, holding a hand or banished
to the ER waiting room. Compassion. All our lives
we stumble into such accidental moments. To meet

another’s suffering. For our own kin. For anyone’s son
or daughter. To care for one another, bound by blood
or heart. Or not. Where two or three. Where one.



Judith H. Montgomery’s poems appear in the Bellingham Review, Tahoma Literary Review, and Healing Muse, among other journals, and in a number of anthologies. Her first collection, Passion, received the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her fourth book. Litany for Wound and Bloom, was a finalist for the Marsh Hawk Prize, and appeared in August 2018 from Uttered Chaos Press. Her prize-winning narrative medicine chapbook, Mercy, appeared from Wolf Ridge Press in 2019.

Table of Contents | Next Page