(c) Mary Ellen Gambutti, Author
All Rights Reserved
Published in Premier Issue of Human/Kind Journal Jan 2019
Awarded Pushcart Nominee
Away and Within
Youth. Idealized freedom, a time of rustic camping among trees, mountain vistas, the breath of earth—when nature held me closest to rapture. Did I consider a Maker? In retrospect, what held more sway was the power of away and within; a ritual of trees and sky, and experimentation, when raw euphoria was key to my spiritual experience.
We were, after all, flower children. Once, on a mountain hike near Aspen, when all ingredients were conducive, my heart sang. My senses were heightened in the roar and ripple of creeks, ethereal mid-day mountain-light, and warmth of the baking grasses and stone, thrill of birdsong. In an illusory moment, I only received. Much later, I would learn to return the blessing.
my life within gardens-
was it escape,
or deeper digging?
My personal essays and vignettes have been published in many fine literary magazines:
Gravelmag, Wildflower Muse, Portland Metrozine, Contemporary Haibun Online, Haibun Today, 1001 Stories, Memoir Magazine, Halcyon Days, Mac(ro)Mic, The Remembered Arts Journal, The Vignette Review, Modern Creative Life, Borrowed Solace, Winter Street Writers, Amethyst Review, The Drabble, FewerThan500, BellaMused, HumanKind Journal, Spillwords, Soft Cartel, BookEnds Review, and more.
My photo Haiku (Haiga) have appeared in "Failed Haiku," "Under the Basho," "Daily Haiku," and other journals.
copyright 2022 (c) Mary Ellen Gambutti, Author
All Rights Reserved
I took this photo during our first reunion, and the joy is palpable. Karen, my 1/2-sister, cousins Lawrence and Helen Cox, and my birth mother, Leila. Antioch Churchyard, Greenville, SC, where many of our ancestors are at rest.
My adoptive mother
Prologue to my memoir I Must Have Wandered: An Adopted Air Force Daughter Recalls
On a bitterly cold Pennsylvania January 2014 day, I'm alone in my adoptive mother’s bedroom, preparing for her move to an assisted living center. Loose photos and family albums lie on this double bed with its carved pineapple finials. Many of these photos were left behind by her mother, and they, the bed, and its matched mirrored mahogany bureau--photos scattered across its surface--are now hers. Here is my baby book and framed portraits of me, testaments to new parents' devotion. I juggle all of these memories, with some of my own.
My adoptive grandmother tucked her photos in scrapbooks where the mucilage of memories has kept them in the safety of black corners. When was the last time they saw the daylight? Bundles wrapped in rubber bands, stuffed into shoeboxes; frilly brag books, and framed images of nieces and nephews, only a few of whom I’ve met. Crinkle-edged black and whites and faded 1960s color shots from pre-digital years are in my hands.
Who are these people? I recognize the faces of some who have crossed my plane in tangent. We share no heritage, and I ache for such a bond. As I turn the coarse corn-colored album leaves, searching captioned names and places, I'm aware that like me, these folks have lived ordinary lives. They were never mine, yet I assume the memory of my adoptive ancestry. How to solve the quandary that I hold in my hands?
My recent story in Visible Magazine:
"Adoption Fables and the Right to Know"
Quartet of Poetic Forms
She Couldn't Say
By Mary Ellen Gambutti
"Remember, she couldn't answer your questions without revealing everything. If you hadn't searched for her she would have taken all her secrets to the grave."
Your words stung. Our only chance the year before she vanished—in and out of our lives. Could I be grateful for all that came of it? The rarity of our meeting? Mute about my father--maybe she strained to remember—the truth ever elusive. Her life of neglect is well known to you; abandoned as a toddler to her own poor parents’ shack. And I—longing for my own truth—flew to you both. Sister, you suspected there were others, but she couldn't say.
worn wooden bench—
pink crepe myrtle
bright above her sadness