Donna – The Mountain

Why did they have to tell me they found drugs in her purse?”  Mom was agitated.  I hadn’t seen her cry yet.  She was angry.  That was better.

She hung up the phone that she had held to her ear all day.  One call after another; first the police, then friends and family.  Then the funeral home.  Then the sheriff.

Making arrangements.  Notifying people.  Learning new things about her daughter.  She was on her own.  She was the pillar that held up this family of seven.  Now six.

The police officers didn’t consider a grieving mother;  they reported the facts without warmth.  It was their jurisdiction, and she was an out-of-towner, a wild teenager without local ties.

They were small, not even a dot on the map in West Virginia.  Not much happened there.  This event injected new life to the local journalist.

They kept Donna’s journal for “investigative purposes” and were cold and uncaring.  As if she didn’t matter.  As if she wasn’t important to us.

Donna died at age 16 in 1976.  There’s a huge collection of poetry she wrote before she died.  This is one.


Up on a mountain

is a new freedom –

sparkling bright orange,

and crystal clear.

A mountain that is made up of beautiful green and red colors.

A mountain with a semi-circle

of flourescent colors and designs

that fly up;

straight out –

like an arrow.

A mountain –

that holds a special dream;

A very special dream.

But no one knows the dream –

not the original dream.

It’s kept a secret;

a closely guarded secret –

within the uprising hills;

so that it cannot be seen,


or stolen.

D. Lehr 10/5/75


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