Saturday, May 14, 2011

Poem: Rebecca Roque

Mother’s Day

by Rebecca Roque

did you think when you carried me inside you that someday
you wouldn’t be the one I would ask about shaving my legs
about boys and dancing and how to curl my hair
which is so soft like yours, too soft
to hold a curl and if you had been there you could have told me that.

instead of you i got burned fingers and knots like a little rastafarian white girl.
did you think that those questions would be
the hardest, too hard maybe
because they weren’t.

the hardest was why I was asking
someone else
whose voice sort of sounded like yours if I was half asleep or crying
too hard to tell the difference
which was a lot, at first.
then it wasn’t.

did you think when you picked up that
joint or rock or man or bottle or disease
This is better than a daughter
and was it?

I think someday I might have a daughter
I might make her from smiles and touches and inside jokes
and I think about someone telling her that she isn’t worth everything you chose instead
and it makes my stomach feel like I swallowed a jar of tears

did you think when you stopped being my mother
that I wasn’t good enough for someone else to take your place?
I did
for a long time, until I saw her
with her painted arms and spiky hair and rings in things that
made me uncomfortable when I was little and scared by things like that
and how long she’d been there without me really seeing, really
knowing what she was doing and being
because that’s what a mother does.

did you think because I was safe and loved by someone
not you
that I would grow into the kind of woman who could
forgive you? because I still don’t know
if I did.

Rebecca's work is slated to appear in an upcoming anthology from Harrow Press. She regularly contributes to the science fiction and fantasy blog Worlds Unimagined.