Alex M. Frankel
I confess I have been too absorbed in my work to look for a feature for this month other than Kate Durbin, whom I scheduled months ago, so I have taken the liberty of once more presenting myself as a featured reader here, as well as the further liberty of not reading poetry at all, but rather a fragment of my work-in-progress, provisionally entitled A BIRTH MOTHER'S KISS: ADOPTION, REUNION, AFTERMATH. This is my memoir about being given up for adoption and reuniting with my birth parents decades later. It is an extended version of an essay I published last year in the San Francisco online journal Switchback. Here is the first paragraph from the essay:

I found out who I was on a bleak summer day in San Francisco when a large envelope arrived from an adoption lawyer. I was almost thirty years old. I opened the envelope and pulled out a picture of a pretty teenage girl who looked like me. This was my mother. I have since learned to call her my “birth mother.”

Here's how I expanded it as the first chapter of my book:

I found out who I was on a bleak summer day in San Francisco when an envelope arrived from an adoption lawyer. I was almost thirty years old. I opened the envelope as I sat at my childhood desk in my childhood room and pulled out a picture of a pretty teenage girl; this stranger was my mother, whom I have since learned to call my “birth mother.” It was a black-and-white photo of a cheerful cheerleader-type and she was smiling at me from across the years and the decades. This stranger from 1960 had my face! It seemed wrong and unnatural that we should have the same face and that I should be seeing her for the first time now, after thirty years. She smiled at me from her picture, and something happened that I had not been prepared for when I first contacted the lawyer’s office hoping for some information about my origins: I felt tears well up and one or two dropped down to the papers in front of me: legal documents, notes from a social worker, a bewildering number of new names and facts, all of which had been waiting in a vault or a file cabinet for me to make my simple request that they appear before me to finally let me know who I was.

 2014 Alex M. Frankel
Alex M. Frankel was a Featured Poet who read his poetry at the March 2014 Second Sunday Poetry Series