Poetry: mama’s two hands


By Lory Whitehead


mama was a soldier, her right hand
knew how to hold a salute


and had learned to fire
handguns and automatic weapons,
even grenade launchers.


that strong hand waved men
forward as she led them
into harm’s way


and covered her eyes in pain
at memorial services
for fallen comrades.


mama was mama, her left hand
held a nursing baby to her breast


and was always available
to erase the tears of toddlers
frightened by loud noises.


that was the gentle hand, it pulled
errant children out of danger


and toasted the living
at weddings and christenings.


poor mama, it was often difficult
to keep each separate hand
in its proper place


and always the right hand
would be envying what
the left hand was doing.


Sandi Tomlin-Sutker
Written by Sandi Tomlin-Sutker