JEAN L. KREILING
She was the first to walk and talk, to fall
and get back up. First-born and born to lead,
she knew her way when she could barely crawl;
she taught our mom to mother, me to read.
We younger siblings watched her carefully:
from her we learned to kiss the dog, to play
Go Fish and Spit; years later, it was she
who baked for Dad and ordered the bouquet
for Mother’s Day. In time we chose our own
frontiers to face instead of those she breached,
but none of us got where we are alone,
and she blazed crucial trails. This year I reached
an age she never did, and yet it’s clear
that much of her lives on, and led me here.
Jean L. Kreiling’s first collection of poems, The Truth in Dissonance (Kelsay Books), was published in 2014. Her work has appeared widely in print and online journals, and she is a past winner of a New England Poetry Club Award, the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters Sonnet Contest, the String Poet Prize, and the Able Muse Write Prize.