By Sarah Wood

I didn’t know 

My mother liked to read.

My grandfather

Was a school teacher,

Breathing books.

My grandparents paid us to read;

I read hundreds of books. 

A generational skip, I assumed.

An adult child now,

At home. Atonement.

We swap books and talk about men.

She is my mother.

She is my best friend.

At dinner she announced, 

She finished her 17th book of the year.

Mom, I didn’t know

You liked to read.

Look at our house, she said.

The bookshelves, 

The mother-daughter book club, 

The books I read along with you.

I’ve always loved to read, she said.

It’s a fundamental part of who I am.

She gestures at her head.

That’s like saying you didn’t know

I had brown hair.

I never saw you reading, I said.

She was with us

On the sidelines,

At the dinner table,

In the car.

My mother gave us everything. 

She laid on the river, 

Her body, 

The bridge we tread on. 


Perhaps, this is the

Duty of the adult child. 


What she gave,

So I might finally see

My mother.

Sarah Wood is a writer, TEDx speaker and mindfulness facilitator from Michigan, currently living in New York City. She is the founder of Joy Soldier™, a community and toolkit to help people lead more joyful lives. She loves finding new books, hummus, and good questions. Sarah has previously been published in the Huffington Post and Thrive Global. 

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