The juxtaposition of being a fragile human and a strong parent has never been more intense than this moment, during these times of global anxiety and local restraint. My children are young enough that they deserve to reside in the soft web of innocence a little longer. As parents, we are the weavers of this ethereal web, our sleight of hand holding the chaos at bay. These fibers become more tenuous each year, as our children’s arms and legs grow longer and their eyes begin to see farther into the truths of the world.
I am part of a poetry group on Facebook that gives you a prompt each day in the month of April. Yesterday’s prompt was this: “When and where does truth begin, and whose truth is it?” Think of an issue in your life that you feel conflicted over, an idea or state of being that you have long held to be true, whose solidity you have begun to question. Write a poem that attempts to demand more from this perceived truth, exploring how it entered your belief system. To whom is it tethered?
(This poem is written in 2 parts. I have yet to give it a title, and welcome any suggestions in the comments.)
I. Mom will catch you when you fall Mom will hold the kite string Mom will zip your jacket Mom will push you on the swing Mom will follow with the vacuum Mom knows where the puzzle pieces are Mom will keep the food bowls full Mom makes sure there’s jelly in the jar Mom knows all the answers Mom knows what’s going on Mom will block the bullies Mom knows right from wrong Mom is calm and happy Mom is prepared for what may be Mom will always bring a snack Mom has a bandaid for your knee Mom locks out the bad guys Mom shields the innocent ear Mom shoos back the monsters Mom explains away the fear Mom will dry your tears sweet baby Mom will rock you when you’re ill Mom will glue the shards together Mom will mop up that spill Mom is never scared or crying Mom knows the words to every song Mom will stop Dad from yelling Mom will make everyone get along Mom will pull the covers up Mom will tuck you in Mom will close the door behind her Mom keeps you safe within
II. I close the door behind me shed the heavy mom skin down my back pull up the covers shrink bare and raw in the curl of the womb nighttime needs silent numbness because lullabies sing of falling with no ending fear has no explanation when the monsters live in our cells pain can only be healed by the wounded and sometimes yelling is the only way rip off a scab broken things often remain broken and stains will be covered by rugs the bandaids are in my other purse I am always forgetting something muttered curses fall on innocent ears the bad guys come from inside (Sorry, kid, I ran out of Goldfish and ate all the M&Ms last night) today the bullies are at the pulpits and I fear we are doing everything wrong there is no vacuum big enough for this mess every bowl will eventually empty every puzzle will be missing a piece I won’t always catch you, sweet baby Mommy is too tired to push the swing You will learn to pump your legs. ©Vixen Lea 2020