So young, I was, and so naive
There was no doubt, I did believe
This babe who's latched inside my womb
The ties we had would always be
Latched on was he, as he was fed
Then later days, our hands instead
Not tall enough to open gates
I would reach the latch for his escape
In time he grew to need more space
The cord we had, still had it's place
The loving ties from birth, so long
Were gently stretching.., moving on,
Yet still remaining full and strong
In time he grew, to be a man
Our bond had changed, but still lives on
He fell in love, as it should be
He latched on with her, I'm glad to see
It didn't mean our own was gone
Songs are sung when lovers part
But no song for a mother's heart
When new adventures come one day
And new roads take him far away
The man he is, has been set free
To be the man he wants to be
The child he was is never gone
She's letting go, yet holding on
If once, one wish, were mine to choose
So many would my thoughts pursue
But one within my heart still yearns
For just one day, the clocks would turn
Together you and I would be
Sitting there among the trees
I would lift you up upon my knee
Just like we did when you were three…
For Francine's Contest: Children In Rhyme
You were beautiful,
my tiny child,
wrapped tightly in my arms,
close to my heart.
I listened to you breathing.
I counted your fingers
and your toes.
you cried out to me
and I loved you
with every ounce of my soul.
Will you hear me
when I cry out?
Will you hold me close
as I held you then?
I remember the day
You took your first step.
There was no stopping you.
Your feet gave you freedom
to explore the world
like never before
but danger lurked.
I opened those doors anyway,
you to the world.
Where will you be
when my legs
no longer run?
no longer work?
Will you realize
that I love
about that day
you first tied your shoe.
We tried and tried
to get that rabbit
in that hole
and you finally did it.
You pointed your toes
for everyone to see
how proud you were.
I am proud too,
of my writing
and my drawing,
of my needlework
and my cooking.
But my hands are beginning to ache
and my fingers will not bend.
I will lose the things
that make me proud
except for you.
Hopefully not you.
Will you let me
brag on you?
Even tell wild stories
that are a bit beyond the truth?
Will you be proud of me too?
I waved good-bye
that morning when you left
on that large, yellow bus.
I was so scared.
I know you were too.
You waved at me bravely
through the dusty window
but I saw the water
forming in your eyes.
You came home, however,
full of pride and joy.
You sang the alphabet song
and got most of it right.
You practiced for hours
until you could sing it
even in your sleep.
whether I took
my pills today or not.
if I told this story before.
I even forgot once
who you were
and it terrified me.
is my treasure
the only thing I have left,
and I heard you make
fun of me
for not remembering
that I gave you the
same gift as last year.
Will you love me
when I no longer
know who I am?
You came home blushing
from the glow of
your first kiss.
Your first love,
the one you thought was real.
You talked about him non-stop.
You changed for him. You gave.
But he left you anyway
for a blue-eyed girl
and I held you
while you cried for him.
I too have a
The love of my life
left me after
He left me here
to live life on my own
while he moved on
to another realm
And I cry for him too.
I long for his shoulder
and strong embrace.
I feel betrayed
because he and I
made a deal
that we would never
leave the other alone.
Yet I am alone
sitting in an echoing house
with no hands to hold.
You welcomed her home today-
your tiny baby girl.
She has your eyes
and possibly your toes.
I see you counting them
as they roll me
into the room.
You finally came
It has been a while.
You look up at me
with tears in your eyes
"Will she tie my
when I get old? "
I carry my mother
like a rock in my pocket
that I just can’t seem to throw away
It serves me
it just weighs me down
When I first found it,
when I first picked it up
and started carrying it with me,
I thought it so beautiful –
I could look at it for hours
But, like my mother,
it never looked back at me,
never grew warm under my loving gaze
For the longest, I was blind to that,
Blind to anything but the beauty,
blind to the cold, hard,
beyond-remote nature of the rock,
of my mother,
I carry my mother,
a thought without weight
And she’s heavier
and she’s colder
than all the stones
By the time I recognized her
immutable, emotional unavailability,
I had run out of joy,
felt depleted of hope –
But I could not,
for the life of me,
stop seeking a beauty, a warmth,
inside her heart
Could not stop
that one day this stone,
deep inside my pocket,
Might just become
its own opposite –
Change from hard to fluid,
from cold to warm
But my rock, my hard burden,
will only turn to water
When my mother
I am standing outside my bedroom, on the precipice of lost innocence.
Wide eyed, and barefoot on cold hardwood.
Someone is hammering on our front door.
My father, looking a bit annoyed, shuffles anxiously down the stairs.
Tussled hair, a bewildered vein bulging in his forehead,
wearing his old, blue plaid robe, the one with the woven rope belt,
he looks like a lightweight boxer, ready to enter the ring.
There are two grim faced policemen waiting on the front porch.
My mother, at the top of the stairs, clutches the neck of her gown.
She looks as if she might choke herself.
Confused concern, reflects in sleep swollen eyes.
They ask my father, “How well do you know those folks across the road?”
As they notice me standing on the stairs, they quickly lower their voices.
In a hushed, rather husky monotone, they explain to my father...
whispering something about a boy who has taken a shotgun out into the hills…
He has taken his own life…and has been identified as the boy...,
the teenager, who lives kitty-corner across our road.
The same kid who mowed our grass when Dad was sick for a spell last summer.
The one who bags Mom’s groceries at the local A & P.
They think I don’t hear them ……but I do…
and I hear them ask my father,
would he, please, come along to help them break the news?
My father, glazed eyes, and head low, steps away a moment, to quickly dress.
I remember hearing my mother gasp, then suck in a sob,..
But then is right behind me, pulling me towards her…..
and I can feel her heart pounding, through flannel of my pajamas.
She is squeezing my shoulders..so hard that it hurts,.... somehow I don’t mind.
I look up seeking reassurance,.... her eyes are huge, …
and she knows that I have heard….
And we both know,...that nothing will ever be the same.
After this day is over, the childhood of yesterday, will wear a different face…
Father pulls a coat over his pajama tops, …he gives my mother a touch on the arm.
With a desolate look at me, he touches my head.
He steps out into the darkness of a not quite dawn.
And through the window, I can see the line of shadows on the lawn.
Three men, like hunched over soldiers, walking slowly into the wounds of a new day.
(Sadly, this is based on a true story)
In the drawer
Behind all the white t-shirts
Packed away in the corner where
It is safe, I keep you.
You are hidden
No one knows you're there,
I take you out to see your
Smiling yet depressed face.
I realize the trouble you went through
Just to make sure I live a better life
Than you did.
Here you hold your baby one last time
Before sending him off to a
Life without poverty.
He doesn't say goodbye because
He is so small and innocent.
You give him a little kiss and say
Goodbye my sweet child.
So I thank you
Sweet, sweet, lady.
I'll put you back
In that safe little place,
So that when the time comes
For me to meet you,
I will find you before
You find me.
Why, Momma, why?
Was I not deserving
Was I not good?
Was I too frail?
Did you send me away
Because your own life
Why, Momma, why
Do I still secretly wail?
Asking myself what did I do so
wrong? How did I fail?
What you called rebelliousness
Was the only way I knew how
to stay strong sometimes, I'd
stay up all night looking after you
Got banged and bruised so that
he wouldn't hurt you
No one else did that
Isn't it true?
Did you ever think about my wounds
That was the only way I knew to
Instead of helping me
You banished me through lies,
Stripped me from my home,
My siblings, my life
Withheld your love
Because I tried to take my own life
But did you ever stop and think that
Perhaps something in me wasn't right?
Why, momma, why?
Does your absence whisper in me
A forever sorrowful lullaby and
Although, I miss you I love you more
each day that goes by
I forgive you wholeheartedly
Despite that yesterday, I cried
I wouldn't hesitate to wipe
The tears from your eyes if they
ever again were to meet with mine
When I was a child I only ever wanted to be strong.
I wanted to be able to compete with the boys
and when I foot raced them at recess I won every time.
They called me ‘She Hulk’ because of my muscular frame
and from the way I only ever wore soccer t-shirts and sweat pants.
After that nickname was implanted into my brain like a growing weed,
I’ve only ever wanted to be feminine.
I started wearing skirts and dresses
and in middle school they shrieked at the site of my makeup and done up hair.
But that weed inside of my mind only grew, and grew, and grew
until I became a mixed drink cocktail
with one part anorexic and two parts lonely,
because I thought that the definition of feminine began with the word frail.
No one ever realizes how greatly words affect us,
how a simple nickname can turn a pretty girl into a skeleton.
I stood at five foot two weighing seventy nine pounds,
so cold and frozen,
yet I still considered myself a ‘She Hulk.’
You could see my ribcage through my t-shirt
and my spinal cord protruded loudly through my weathered skin,
as if somehow my bones were dirty knives
just trying to cut through the flesh of judgment.
As I grew older I became the girl that was never enough.
Not good enough to speak poetry.
Not good enough to lay paint on a canvas.
Not good enough.
Not tall enough.
Not big enough boobs for them.
Not primped to perfection.
Not undeniably straight.
Not smart enough.
Not dumb enough.
Not ditsy enough.
Not cool enough or fun enough.
And I began to believe, too, that I wasn’t enough.
I never told my mother that I had been in madly in love with a girl.
I never told anyone about the night we first kissed
because I was too vulnerable for the judgment.
And parents always justify saying that ‘kids will be kids’
But when we are kids our brains are still growing
and the smallest of seeds that get planted will one day bloom
into one giant regret,
will one day affect the choices that we make,
will one day influence us about the clothes that we wear,
will one day shape us into the person who we thought we would never be.
I only ever wanted to be strong,
and as a child I thought strength was only about being able
to lift a bar stool above your head.
I thought that strength was only about being able
to beat the boys in bare foot running races.
I was told that strength was something only
a man could have.
But as I’ve grown older I’ve realized that strength
isn’t about muscle at all,
but it’s about weakness,
and the ability to overcome the social anxiousness.
It’s about carrying around a lifetime of baggage
on your broken back
because the ones that kicked you when you were down
are going to be the ones that were ultimately wrong.
I thought that the definition of woman
began with the word disappointment.
And I became a mixed drink cocktail
with one part freedom
and two parts Sailor Jerry
because every girl needs a stiff drink once and awhile.
We are not disappointments.
We will never be the ones who gave up on hope.
We will never be the ones who gave up on each other,
or our mothers.
We will always be enough;
enough for the ones who shunned us
enough for the ones that cursed us
enough for the ones the hurt us
and destroyed us
and beat us when we were covered in bruises.
But you see, bruises fade
and the scars of our flesh are only stories
things we have overcame
and there are things out there that we will overcome.
When I was a child, I only ever wanted to be strong.
I hid my vulnerability.
I hid the parts of me that were true.
I never told my mother about my girlfriend
because I was afraid she wouldn’t understand,
kind of like all those people who never understood
just how much words effect us.
I can’t say that I can beat the boys at foot races anymore,
because, well, I smoke cigarettes now.
And I can’t say that the nickname of my childhood didn’t affect me.
But I take that name now and embrace it.
Because I am strong.
I am the ‘she hulk’.
I am a mixed drink cocktail
with three parts greatful.
A precious gift! Joy unimagined fills my heart
She smiles! My heart races, leaping!
And like a butterfly in spring, gliding,
It dips among new blossoms
Like a sweet melody playing softly
in the cool of the evening, I soar!
My baby, my first, like an angel sleeps
Soft, warm and brown
I stare in awe of this most perfect gift from God!
Tiny almond-shaped eyes, sparkle- searching
Nothing as beautiful have I ever seen!
She cries and her teardrops like crystal daggers
Pierce, my joyful heart!
And like a wounded sparrow it plummets
Free-falling, and I am left puzzled...confused
Nervous, I gently hold her close to my breast
I am sure she can feel my heart beating..
Suddenly our faces brush... she turns-
Our eyes lock, and smiles ripple!
My first born--all is well in my world.
The warrior lays her weary head,
With heavy heart she cannot bear,
Burning tears stream down her face,
As whispered memories touch the ear.
Her armour tarnished by remorse,
Her battle-cry a wimpered row,
Her wounds, of which bleed solitude,
Will never know forgiveness now.
The song began two score ago,
When two came knocking at her door,
In need of refuge from the world,
Of that, and love, and little more.
Forced to fight for every smile,
Her only solace found in song,
She longed for love to rescue her,
And plant her where she could belong.
Jealous tongues are seldom kind,
Self-seeking hearts know nought of love,
The caged canary only sings,
When coaxed to praise from up above.
For the steely spine that now I own,
Forever shall I grateful be,
A gift from her, and from her own.
Courage mounted inwardly.
I'll not forget how I have loved thee,
And youthful memories I will prize,
Til on the shore of His forgiveness,
Whereto now, we both shall rise.
It is October again, but I have another in mind
One long ago, and it brings tender memories
It wasn't the usual, of Halloween kind
Of parties and goblins, of which there were many
It was a year of some changes, our family had moved
I was ten years old...struggling and shy
A small little town, I'd been replanted and torn
It was late in October...now uprooted and more...
A different school....a country lane....no close neighbors next door
On Halloween night, it rained and it poured
The end of the world...I was unhappy and bored
Leaving what had been home, familiar and sure
Where our old street had been filled
With Halloween thrills
Here in the country, ...no one came to the door
I was dressed to go out...but storms plagued the night
My mom understood....she saw my sad plight
She went up to her room, made up her face
She combed up her hair, until it stood on it's roots
Covered her face with black fireplace soot
She threw on her robe, and pulled on dad's boots
Crept out the back door, and to the front porch
When the doorbell rang....I jumped in delight!
Trick-or-treaters had come to our house this dark night!!
When I opened the door, at first I didn't see
It was mom, ...trying to hard, bring me some glee!
She grabbed me and laughed and pulled me to come
Out into the rainstorm....up the road we would run
We ran in the downpour, getting soaked to our skin
Laughing and yelling....such fun it had been!
Later that night, we warmed by the fire
She let me stay up....no one was tired
So cozy and warm...no longer so cold
With popcorn, and candy...and the ghost stories told
That one Halloween, on that night of the storm
Was the best Halloween....and reminds me of home.....
I'll never forget when each Halloween comes
The gift of the fun.... all thanks to my mom.....