Cove Neck, New York, May 1918
Edith Roosevelt received
the German postcard on Mother’s Day.
It was a photo of her youngest son Quentin.
His mangled body on some field in France
beside his shot-down aeroplane.
His handsome face mutilated twice
from machine gun bullets.
The enemy addressed it directly to her,
to break her, break her. It did not.
Instead, she framed it above the mantle
at the entrance to their home Sagamore Hill.
Everyone who entered, including her husband Theodore,
had to gaze at the gruesome propaganda.
How many mothers
a photo of a son up high
he had been fatally mangled
by brutal bullets
while desperately flying for victory against
or substance abuse self-destruction
or attacks on his heart
in an existence
that gives no quarter, relentless
gravity, contracting space, that offers no second chances?
For Betty Jones—born October 3, 1936 died May 3rd, 2021