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“Off Balance” by Lorraine Jeffery

By Lorraine Jeffery

Supportive is the word we use now. I’m supportive

of my six-foot son, father of six, meeting

the woman who gave him what I couldn’t.


He didn’t wake when I cradled

him at the hospital and hurried

back to our motel. My young husband


and I carefully unwrapped his small

perfection, dressing him in clothes that

would make him ours, not knowing


that little frame held seeds

of a 270-pound body with arms that easily

lift and hold a 4×8 sheet of anything


over his head. He doesn’t look

like a Kevin, Art said. And there,

perched on the bed, with him


between us, we tossed names in the air.

We hurried to the plane, holding

him close and I imagined her

alone in that hospital room.


Was she staring out the window, trying

to convince herself

that she’d done the right thing

by this unnamed child

who didn’t open his sleeping mouth

for the warm milk I offered?


Worried, I called my mother

when we got home.

He won’t eat, I fussed.

He will, she said.


Tears, hugs, tears, laughter and little boy scrapes

followed. I thought more about him—

less about her.


Today, miles from here,

they are meeting. He tells her I’m supportive.


Surely, that’s what I am as my feet try

to find balance on the shaky floor.

About Lorraine Jeffery

Lorraine Jeffery earned her bachelor’s degree in English and her MLIS in library science, and has managed public libraries in Texas, Ohio and Utah for over twenty years. She has won poetry prizes in state and national contests and has published over fifty poems in various publications, including Clockhouse, Kindred, Calliope, Ibbetson Street, and Rockhurst Review. She has published short stories in Elsewhere, War Cry, The Standard and Segullah. Her articles have appeared in Focus on the Family, Mature Years, and Utah’s Senior Review, as well as other publications. Her first mystery novel, Death is Always a Resident, was published by Cedar Fort in 2015. She is the mother of ten children (eight adopted) and currently lives with her husband in Orem, Utah.

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