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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Hayden


Today I read the poem "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden (yeah we share a surname, but no relation. I wish!) and it made me think of a piece I drafted last week, an essay about my mother. Part of it is angry and part of it is understanding. The older I get, the more I understand her as a woman, as a wife and mother, as a human being trying to navigate her life. There is some bitterness in me still, which I did not recognize until fairly recently and that I need to release. But even as I identify the anger I also have greater compassion, understanding and gratitude for the woman she is and was.

Anyway, Hayden's poem today reminded me of what I started writing about my mom:

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. When the rooms were warm, he’d call, and slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?

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