Friday, February 15, 2019

Poem: Everything We Don't Want Them to Know

Everything We Don't Want Them to Know

At eleven, my granddaughter looks like my daughter
did, that slender body, that thin face, the grace

with which she moves. When she visits, she sits
with my daughter; they have hot chocolate together

and talk. The way my granddaughter moves her hands,
the concentration with which she does everything,

knocks me back to the time when I sat with my daughter
at this table and we talked and I watched the grace

with which she moved her hands, the delicate way
she lifted the heavy hair back behind her ear.

My daughter is grown now, married
in a fairy-tale wedding, divorced, something inside

her broken, healing slowly. I look at my granddaughter
and I want to save her, as I was not able

to save my daughter. Nothing is that simple,
all our plans, carefully made, thrown into a cracked

pile by the way love betrays us.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

"Everything We Don't Want Them to Know" is from What We Pass On: Collected Poems 1980-2009, Guernica Editions. The poem was featured on The Writer's Almanac in January 2019.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan's most recent books are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow  and the poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter . Her collection of poems along with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets . Maria's official website is

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