by Letecia Burch

First place winner, Fiction, Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, August 2022

I grew up with a woman who inhabited a different world

from the loving carefree mothers of my friends.

Not saying she didn’t love me.

She showed it in a different way.

I had more of a friend than a mother

I couldn’t tell them apart

and definitely didn’t know where to start.

My mothers feelings were like intense colors—

fiery reds, soft pinks, earthy greens and the deepest slate gray.

Why should I write of teardrops falling

if your no longer there to wipe them away.

Silently obscuring the timeless tells that follow.

Who’s fingers traced the outline of my face

when I cried tears of sorrow

not knowing I’m on borrowed time.

Soon youd leave and this time I cant call or follow

for a beautiful soul who would never come back

I try and catch my breath

when I feel the panic attack.

It might be quicker and silent to sink into quicksand

to disappear beneath its surface

I’ve always thought and been told

pick your head up you have a purpose

It’d be so much easier to just let go but I cant

because of not the chance of seeing her again

is so clear seeing the pearly white gates of heaven

I can’t wait to be with you again.

In art class they taught us that sunlight contains all the colors of the rainbow.

You were my sunlight.

You taught me how to find a rainbow.

You’ll forever be in my heart.