Written by Sarita Hartz


for the ones taken too soon & the mothers left behind


You, our twin stars shining as the moon

the dark sea absorbing you whole

grey ocean spray and rage my closest companions


I would have blistered the soles of my feet

bloody on the rocks

to carry you home

prayers breathed as sung worship

weren’t enough to save you

though I fought as only a mother knows

lashing against the void of my womb.


I knew the moment I lost you.

The ache in my back

nothing to the gape in my soul

you were the last of our chances.

But love risks it all without regret

you, the sparkle beneath my skin,

without you the glow dissolves into despair.


I could not protect you

I could not protect you


I live with that tattooed on my wrists,

nails scraped to skin, a howling.

Grief knows no wailing as a mother

wrestled from the warm cocoon of her child.


I will lay the flowers down on a watery grave

without the imprint of your bodies.

Heaven where you rest, lightyears away from my arms.

I will find you in the space between stars,

constellations burning bright with your names.

Though I cannot name you in baptism.


Your blue hue a galaxy away

close enough to trace the outline of your faces.

The northern sky, a constant remembering,

the dark enfolds, an embrace, even as your light

shimmers dim


Somehow, I will survive this, defiant.


I rose above the reclaiming of your brothers,

I made my ascent from clawing fingers of death.


I am mother

to the one you left behind

there is no room here for the dying.


We will live, together.

We will honor the redemptive tapestry

still unfolding

for we are the keepers of your story.


I gather strength in the morning, cold water

bowing low over porcelain

washing away tears escaped in sleep.
Resilience the gold seeping through the crevices of

a broken heart.


I am not undone.

I am a phantom thing walking white in moonlight

a wraith to my family and friends.

Who can understand the anguish of

lives unlived, stolen before their time?


I hide under the shelter of wings, other women

gone before me, nodding in silent testimony

of shared loss

We, the fragmented but healing

each other’s only solace


I say goodbye but you are marked on my body.

Scars, the vertical lines bear witness to

a pain buried under the bulge of a belly

diminishing too soon.


We are mothers to a host of
spirits wrenched from our abdomens.

We are vulnerable but strong.

our hearts beat in time with the cadence of yours.


We will go on, knead the dough, make the heart-shaped

pancakes for toddlers cradling our shins

because we have to.

Because we are the witnesses, image bearers,

torches in the shadowy night


though the dark may destroy us

we will not bend until there’s meaning

fashioned from our loss.


We refuse to let your deaths

make a mockery of our light.


Let the storm come, bash us against the


we will not yield

‘til we make a heaven from our hell.

May beauty swell from

our songs sung clear and high.


I love you to the moon and back

I love you to infinity

I love you ‘til the earth wastes away

and I am nothing but silvery dust

floating in inky space towards the melding

of our holy union.


Though the lightning splits the sky

my vision of you in God’s arms isn’t a cruelty.

She croons over your sleeping heads

until the moment we are enfolded in

each other’s embrace.


Text © Sarita Hartz



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