I stare at the slim bundle in my hand
Bound with practical, rough, discoloured twine.
My mother was neither a hoarder nor
A sentimental keeper of tokens.
These letters held some deep significance,
Unique in their surprising survival.
I flinched from their secrets and their power
Forever to alter my world’s axis.

Her death had given me a huge release
From conflicting pains of loss, love, pity,
And now joyful reprieve, for me at least,
Liberated from her lingering death.
My focus narrowed to doing, sorting,
Orchestrating her last rite of passage,
Selectively celebrating only those
Comfortable, kind characteristics.

And still I stare at these manila leaves
Mindful of Pandora’s reckless prying.
Fearful that their secrets will only stab
And wound my tight, fragile heart, still battered
By the many reproofs and dismissals
Of her descent into dementia.
I cut the cord and seven envelopes
Surrender my faded high school reports.