Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Mother Writes to Laura Bush, Who Suffers

On the Today Show, April 25, 2007 -
Ann Curry to Laura Bush, about Iraq:
Do you know that the American people are suffering …. ?
Laura Bush:
Oh, I know that very much, and, believe me, no one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this.

Dear Mrs. Bush, dear Laura,

Do you mind if I call you Laura?
We're both women after all, mothers,
Texans. We speak the same language,
share the same mother tongue.

Do you know that the people are suffering?

I was ironing in the morning quiet when
I saw your interview, ironing the shirt
of my youngest, the shirt he loves best
because it is like his older brother's,
the brother who will not be coming home,
the brother who died in Iraq.

No one suffers more than their president and I do.

I wished I could dismantle the box
around you, until you were sitting here
in my kitchen as I iron, just the two of us,
talking women's talk.
I would tell you my heart.
How it is broken wide open now,
how anything, everything
-the smallest gesture, a word, the sorrow etched forever on my husband's handsome face-
is my son.
I would tell you how tears
have become speech, indistinguishable
from any other speech, a river.

And because it would be just us,
you and I, here in my quiet kitchen,
chances are I'd forget I was ironing,
staring straight ahead as I spoke into morning.
I wonder if you'd notice, the iron
burning through the shirt,
the space
where whole cloth had been,
the smoke rising.

No one suffers more.

Believe me.

Robin Turner

Robin Turner, 50, lives near Dallas, Texas.

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