The Common Good

Mother's Week: Letting Go and Outside, Poems


Letting Go
By Stacy Barton

looking back the
leaving began at once
the loss of you like summer
grass before the season’s end

your tiny form expands me still

a willow of a woman you
catch my breath like a breeze
that flutters the leaves
of your branches





By Stacy Barton

I sit in the light of two fluorescent bulbs –
one flickering above the workbench,
the other swinging over the washer and dryer –
and wonder over my nest, soon bare.

Here in the garage,
with only the leftover laundry to stir my memory,
I find fewer cues to catapult my heart.

boxes sit, ready for college,
with hangers perched atop taped cardboard,
bound in bakers bundles like so many necessary soldiers.
Pillows piled, alongside dish drainers,
and vacuums for second year;
each an undeveloped portrait.

Everywhere I turn, vestiges of yesterday taunt me.

Pictures uncovered in the clean out,
set beside the sofa in a reused box;
third grade recitals rescued alongside
our first television set and an old turn table.

These objects wait hopefully
eager to audition for the leading role
in this latest play.
For now they sit, still and quiet, before the hearth,
in tidy rows, named and claimed,
while temperatures outside soar to summer heights.
I leave

the comfort of what I know, move
away from the collect of this latest change
(in truth it has me swallowing stones)
and find solace on the dusty concrete of the garage.
I sit,

sweat threatening my spine,
in an old blue game chair,
rocking too and fro,
while their father collects cords
and ropes,
coiling them, hanging them,
tying us, surely, to what was and

what will be.

Stacy Barton is a writer, poet and playwright who lives with her husband Todd and the last of their four kids in Maitland, Fla., where they’ve made their home for 20 years. When the house is quiet, she writes for Disney or works on her new novel or plays with construction paper for old time’s sake. Read more from Stacy in her collection of short stories, Surviving Nashville, or on

Spiral image: Markus Pfaff

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