About “The Gate”

My thoughts on Marie Howe’s poem “The Gate”

“I had no idea that the gate I would step through

to finally enter this world

would be the space my brother’s body made.”

I feel sometimes as though the gate I step through to see the world is my mother’s smile.  I feel my lips forming her smile and feel my eyes turning into hers, twinkling with a secret knowing.  Other times I find myself crying her tears.  Feeling the pain of loneliness that seems as though she is weeping along with me, in me.  Looking long at someone’s suffering that no one around me notices, allowing the ache to permeate my protective shell and give space to tears.

But her smile.  Winsome, hard-won, given.  It healed me, gave me such hope.  Told me that everything will be all right, for her, for me, for the yet-unborn who will inherit the ghost of a smile that opens a space in the world for them to walk through.

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