On wearing the Mom Suit

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
Source unknown

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