Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I am positing a bit early, but I wanted to wish my mother, who has been a beacon of light in my world so many times, and all mothers out there, a very happy Mother’s Day. In my life, I would not have been able to accomplish near as many things as I have without my mother’s silent encouragement. The poem I share below is a nod to that encouragement, to her ability to not judge me or condemn when I make a mistake, and to always be there when I need somewhere to reground myself, providing a safe place to return to. The relationship we have with our mothers is our first real relationship. It shapes and formulates so much of who we become. The choice to be a mother to someone is incredibly special and ‘divinely inspired.’ I am so grateful for my mother every day. So, to all who provide that loving, wonderful maternal energy to the world, ‘thank you.’ It’s an incredible gift of service.
Doesn’t every noun want to became a verb?
Doesn’t time want be moving?
I wanted every breath passed in
to pass out of me.
I think of you entering my room
when I had barely a body or a soul
to share with anyone, looking me in the eyes directly,
reminding me because I did not die,
there would be no funeral. Marching orders:
Good soldiers know when to fight.
before I could argue; you were out of sight.
You knew before I did that I could handle the world’s secrets,
that I could handle people dripping with blood,
with no places to go, no places to rest their heads.
My escape routes, when my heart
was out of tune with the girl I was playing with.
You said nothing, but you always did
leave the porch light on…
When I laid in your spare bed regretting
I had changed her name and changed
mine own in the process, you just quietly sat
with me and assured me, I had visited
this hurt before and would again.
You reminded me the continents,
the islands, the places I went toward,
admitting, you, would never have had the courage
to put yourself in places you only heard of on maps.
It was you at sixteen, when I could not speak,
who walked into me typing away
on a typewriter you supplied for me
listening to your records
that just looked at me,
turned your head to the turntable and said
this was the must beautiful piece of music written for my generation.
You just smiled and walked up the stairs,
the same way you did the day
I packed up all I owned and moved overseas
to work with soldiers returning from war.
Every one puts their pants on one leg at a time,
you reminded me as the car waited outside
packed and ready for a new life.
When I fell injured, laying awake
in the hot Hawaiian air,
my leg twisted and disfigured;
you handed me a pair of crutches
and walked with me along the ocean without words,
as if you knew giving me beauty
might allow sleep to forgetfully numb my pain.
When they said I wouldn’t walk for a year,
you encouraged me, Fill out the application,
people in institutions know pain,
and on my first day of work, you dropped me off reminding me,
Those are the same doors that have been before you before.
As loss continued & my heart started to skip beats,
you witnessed life drain out of my eyes. Still,
you smiled and encouraged me
to put myself out there for everyone to see.
Reminding me, Everyone relates to a little pain.
When I feel like the world has given me too much,
You bring me back to those evenings
before I knew how war and abuse destroy men,
Before I knew anything of love, before I know
The perils one’s own body can bring.
You reminded me
All good soldiers know how to fight.
We all put our pants on one leg at a time.
Every one relates to a little pain.
These are the same doors you’ve been through before.
Then you smiled and flicked the porch light on.