Visits to My Mother’s Room – by Alice G. Waldert

At age four, I saw my mother
for scheduled visits
away from my foster home.

She lived in a Victorian house
in an attic room, with sleepy
windows under its decorative eaves.

I had to follow her up a mountain of stairs,
stagger breathless behind her
like a good soldier,

through dim, narrow passages
to a wooden door she opened
with a skeleton key. When she clicked on

a lantern, dark phantoms hovered
on low ceiling walls,
and a sagging single-bed.

Each time I saw it, I felt
the frightened bird
swell in my throat.

She, unaware, popped
a yellow bottle—
took pills with a glass of water,

then handed me a book and crayons.
Mommy needs to sleep.
Play quietly until I take you home.


Alice G. Waldert‘s poetry has appeared this year (2023) in the Muleskinner Journal, Mistake House Magazine, Red Eft, and an international British anthology titled Addiction. She has work forthcoming in The Evening Street Review. She is currently working on a collection of poems about childhood trauma and survival. She holds an MA in Canadian Studies, an MFA in writing, and is in her second year of a three-year diploma program in visual arts.