My Mother, Myself


In loving memory of my mother, who died in her sleep March 9, 2019.

You lived with a back
that carried the burdens of the world
except your own.
You lived with a heart knives didn't stop stabbing;
yet it refused to stop beating.
You lived with a womb that fought delivery,
yet delivered me, miraculously, after six years.

We cooked together.
We talked.
We fought and argued.
We brought out both the worst
and the best of each other.
We forgave each other,
With no apology.
No one has ever seen
what we shared in our little world.

I've always challenged you with onions,
potatoes, flour and sugar.
I didn't listen to your instructions.
You thought I underestimated you,
when, in fact, I was trying to impress you.

Whenever we fought
I said I'd leave.
You'd lower your head, sad.
How could you believe me, Mother?
My words were only in anger.
They disappeared like a handful of dust.

You were my queen, Mother;
My love, my heart.
I didn't know your prolonged prayers
Were long to cover up my negligence.
I am as I am today, Mother,
Because of the blessing of your prayers.

I miss your voice calling me, Mother,
and your warm embrace.
Every time you'd push me away,
needing to catch your breath
due to your struggling heart,
I knew you’d hug me forever if you could.
I miss kissing your red cheeks,
head and hands,
and smelling your perfume.

They fear a war, Mother!
Let a war erupt.
A war is no war
Except for the war I survived
with you, Mother.

You broke me, Mother.
You left peacefully
and left me in pieces,
drenched in dreams we wove together
yet didn't fulfill
in a future my eyes can't see without you.

You hoped for me to buy you
whatever you wanted of the money
I'd get from the job you prayed I'd have.
You wanted to see me a wife,
a mother loving and suffering with her children
the way you loved and suffered with me.

We dreamed of a walk to the sea:
you in your electric wheelchair
and I walking by your side.
You left; we didn't go to the sea.
I despise the sea without you, Mother.

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