Donna – You Know I Don’t Know

Donna stole our father’s button-down flannel shirts, wore them often, even though she weighed all but 95 pounds and was tiny, tiny, tiny.

My mother would say later that she did that because it was her way of being close to him.  He ignored her terribly.

I often wonder if he even cared that she died.

I don’t think so – how can you miss someone that you never got to know?

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


You know –

me talking to you

lately has been

bringing me down.

Because I know

that what I’ve been doing,

isn’t right.

It’s the same stuff

that I say and pray

to you every night.

And lately it’s getting

so that

I don’t do anything new;

at all.

I feel bad;


And I want you to help me.

But you knew that.

You knew that.

You know –

me talking to you

lately has been

bringing me down –


You know?


I don’t Know…

I love you.

But then why

am I doing this?

I don’t know,

I don’t understand.

I can’t seem to.

Help me –

Dear God –

If you can hear me;

Help me!!

I know I’ve done wrong –

but I’m enjoying it.

Is this

some sort

of a


I don’t know.

If so –

Is it good –

or bad?

Help me.

Help me,


I just…

I don’t know…

D. Lehr 10/4-5/1975