For Valerie (The Good Child)

Heartbreaking your letter. Hard

to know your vibrant mother, keen

of legal and loving minds, is

lost inside her head, unfathomable. Hard

to picture her mail stashed in odd, strange places,

discovered in your eternity of mom’s

now vagueness, and how you found

my letter of last winter. Cold

knowledge of your sister’s thefts and drugs, your

borrowing brother’s feckless disappearance.

And you, good child, sole shelterer of mother’s

anxious, combative, sleepless self of three years

now. Glorious

to picture you free on your horse on a ride last Sunday

to honor your father, who died of diabetes. And you,

as you say, still vertical, you, marvelous

healer of animals, broken minds and families, you

have ended your letter with sympathy for me. You,

gifted, good child of all time,

with time for all.

— Fran Migliaccio

— 2012