In-between Places*

June 11, 2017

2017 Walk Award
By Virginia Ferm Herrick

I keep running into my mom
in halls, elevators, and alleyways.
I’m always glad to see her, but we never really talk.

“I came to see Dr. Seymour,”
she lamented in the elevator one morning.
“I ended up with some guy who didn’t know my situation—”

Then my alarm went off, and she was gone.

Another time, she came down the hall
at the transitional house for women and children
where I was helping paint for the Grand Opening.
We were so happy to see each other.
I gave her a big hug before she hurried on,
her bird-like bones as solid as ever.

Even both alive, we only got to talk
when she was busy
doing dishes, changing her shoes, cooking, gardening.
Stands to reason now she’s dead,
she’s even harder to pin down.

Bumping into her like this helps, but I know why
she wanted Dr. Seymour.

. . . . .
An award-winning journalist for more than a decade, Virginia Ferm Herrick is no stranger to seeing her name in print. Her website, Yes! Virginia, includes samples of her poetry and prose; she also has published in magazines and had a poem selected for inclusion in the 2009 poetry and prose collection, Enlivened by the Mystery. She shares her household with two lordly but affectionate cats, a patient dog, and a husband who loves boats.

“I wrote ‘In-between Places’ based on a dream journal and a subsequent rough draft that sat on my computer for two years. Inspired by the contest announcements in April 2017 and the upcoming anniversary of my mom’s death on May 3, I picked up the amorphous draft and wrote the poem. Only in writing it did I realize: I was the one who wanted ‘Dr. Seymour.’”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Virginia Ferm Herrick. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

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