Happy Mother’s Day

Imagine a place where:
“Thank you”
isn’t flung at you snidely
at worst,
or hurled with sarcasm
at best.

Imagine a plane of existence
where gratitude
doesn’t soar past you,
doesn’t leave you waiting
at the gatehouse
for a missed flight of feeling
appreciated,
instead of terminally misused.

Imagine,
if you were more than
an emergency contact number,
more than
a sum of digits called upon
to subtract conflicts,
add solutions,
multiply your
contributions of love
without becoming internally divided.

Imagine,
if the hotline
to your acknowledgement
never went cold.
Imagine,
if embraces of gratefulness
enveloped you more often
than post favorite meals cooked,
annual Christmas presents bought.

Imagine a home
where thankfulness is matched
with the same expectations
that you will always be mother,
mama,
Mom.

Imagine a slice of reality
where you didn’t have to imagine
this poem to be true.
So let me end by saying this:
I’m sorry,
for all the times
I didn’t permit “thank you,”
to escape my lips
more often than it has.

I’m sorry,
for permitting this
plane of existence
to feel more like
an act of terror
towards your twin towers
of love and patience towards me.

I’m sorry,
that it feels like
you’re only on speed-dial
when my mind is too slow
to solve my own problems,
that you’re on call just
to do the listening
instead of being heard.

I’m sorry,
if my hugs seem seasonal
at best,
or synced to leap years
at worst.
I’m sorry.

But I am thankful,
for all the love
you still cultivate in me,
for not giving up on this garden
no matter how many weeds
of ingratitude I’ve let flourish.

I just want you to know,
that I see you
and always have.
I love you
and always will.

Thank you,
for being a mother,
a psychologist
to my mind,
a nurse
to my heart,
an optimist
to my ambitions,
a realist
to my dreams.
Thank you,
for being mother,
mama,
Mom,
to me.

I can only imagine
how hard it must be.

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Letter to My Unborn Daughter 

Dear love of mine,

it has come to my attention
that you’re stealing
the beginnings
of your Mama’s poem,
so let me start by saying this:
You’ll be all
and nothing like her.

Your eyes
will never be baptized
into the pains that she has felt,
when her pupils
dilated to discover her worth
need not be assessed by men
who only want to perform price checks
but are never committed to buy.

I will deluge you with a love
that appreciates your value daily,
so much so
that you will never be bought.
Every man will always be
an honest compliment shy,
a touch of love too short,
an insufficient fund away
to get you to stay.

My dear,
I have no intentions
of giving your hand away,
but I’ve already composed this score
for the occasion.
I pray,
the day that it comes
I will be less of the man I am today
and more of the man
you’ll need me to be.
Lord knows,
I’ve never been in a fight
a day in my life
but I will go to war for you.
I will battle your demons.
I will vanquish your foes.
I will dismantle every man
that desires to treat you as some –
word that I shouldn’t say.

May he respect you
long after he has earned your love.
May he love you
long after he has earned your trust.
May he trust you
as if he’s learned that he must
because
hearts don’t break around here.
My darling,
you won’t break when I’m near.

So call me.
Call me when you need me,
call me when you don’t.
Call me when he forgets your birthday,
you’ll already know that I won’t;
just
call me.

Even though we’ve yet to meet,
at this point in my life
I’ve already loved you more
than any woman I’ve ever met.
I have vowed
to resurrect the best of myself
to give over to you
so you’ll always have faith
in love.

All I’ll need you to do
is breathe easy.
Remember,
that sometimes love will feel
like you’ve been shortchanged;
a part of you
will want to curl into a fist,
you’ll wish
that you’ve never met men.
I’ll wish
that they’ve never met you.

You,
with the dimpled smile
you borrowed from your mother.
You,
my unborn princess
I vow to love like no other.
You,
will always be my sunshine,
my only sunshine.

Scars Deep

She says she
loves a sleeveful
of tattoos and I?
I’m currently
newborn bare,
an unadulterated canvas to ink.
But these scars
pigment my truths
more permanently. 

For instance,
I drew lessons
from when hurricane Andrew
drew blood from my knee.
Taught me
that severed fence poles
and knee caps
will never agree.
Taught my Dad and sister
that stories of nails through feet
should be reserved for the Gospel;
their story of redemption
was sponsored by:
tetanus shots.
You know
the type that leaves you with scars
for no reason? 😉😉

For instance,
the deja vu twins
that freeze tagged my forearm
from when I told the nurse
the oldest twin
is proof positive for TB.
She looked at me
in disbelief;
ordered me another round of shots
and I looked at her in
disbelief like:
“Oh boo boo, what is you doin?”
She taught me
to stand by your no
the first time;
that if someone
is going to stain you with a memory
make sure the price
isn’t set to your regret. 

For instance,
when I opened the door,
allowed you entrance
to my vulnerabilities,
permitted you to touch
everything
knowing good and well
you were never planning to buy,
it shouldn’t have come to me as a surprise
when I watched you fumble
with my emotions.
Your I love yous
always sounded jittery.
My name,
never felt safe
on your lips.
My love,
unwisely trusted your hands
to handle with care
the parts of me that
would’ve never broken. 

I may not be inked
with anything meaningful,
but trust when I say
I’m scarred where it matters,
in a place where memories of you
could never be effaced…

On Our Last Date

On our last date,
I was force-fed
disappointment
and choked
on your apathy.

As I watched your attention
unreluctantly
get kidnapped
within your pupils;
no one flinched
or batted an eye
as if they all knew:
no one searches
for lost cases.

Unprepared to brace this,
we sat face to face
and yet,
were the furthest apart
in attendance.
Proximity,
became a luxury
priced too high
for your eyes to buy.

I reached for your hand.
You pulled away as if
Anthrax was on my fingertips;
after being dipped
into disloyalty,
they might as well have been.

“Are we done here?!?”

The miasma of the question,
thick in the air lingering
heavy and low
poised to strike
at any answer I could offer.

Your eyes
were glazed with questions
that made your mascara run,
and I couldn’t summon
an unselfish enough reason
to justify you staying.

“Was it worth it?”

The question
left me more blank
than the waiter’s gaze,
more empty
than his tip jar.
By far,
she left me
with the fairest self-estimate
my ego ever alluded to.

On our last date,
I force-fed myself excuses,
chocked on my lies
and no one flinched,
or batted an eye.

The Right of Way

Just in case
my tongue speaks in thunder
and my words
fall harsh like hail.

Just in case
my consonants
seem constant in
constraining your confidence.

Just in case
my vowels seem self endowed
to foul the respect
unannounced in yours.

Accept my umbrella of apologies
until these lips I’ve learned to scale.
Forgive me,
for pillaging the sacred
in your thoughts,
the sacrament
upon your lips,
the wisdom in your words.

I’ll improve upon silence.
Compose an opus
to open the forest of my pride,
where its roots run deep
and branches reach
just as wide.

Be the first to admit
that if a man
thinks to interrupt
the flux of a woman’s thoughts
in her absence that he’s
still wrong.

So speak what’s on your mind
and I’ll mind what I speak.
They say that conversation
is a two way street,
and I’m sitting at a red light.
I believe,
the right of way
is yours.

His Eye is On The Sparrow

When you discover
that every tear shed
will not purge you
of his memories;
that every fallen drop
isn’t equivalent
to the distance
he falls away from you;
that your
rain-forest eyes won’t reset
to detect a love
better felt than seen.

When you unearth the value
in your coarsest traits,
disassociate his appraisal of you
with his attention.
Your self-worth
has always been
independent
of his last name.

When you realize
your loyalty,
your commitment,
your efforts to
“stay the course”
while he detours
to another’s arms were all
to strengthen your knees
to kneel amidst the rocks
and find God
in the hardest of places.

When you realize
that every sip
of his rejection
is followed by the aftertaste
of finding yourself,
it’ll still taste bitter,
you’ll still want to chase it
with a gallon of whys.

It still won’t make you feel
any less used,
your time
no less wasted,
your love
no less abused.

But you
will love yourself better.
You’ll discover
that tears can indeed be for joy.
You’ll unearth
the precious,
the beautiful,
the richest
of jewels in you.

Most importantly,
you’ll flourish in his absence
when you’re alone
in His presence,
for His eyes
are always
on the sparrow.

Only Human

She has a switchblade
for a tongue on left days;
converts it into a
substitute for creamer
on right days
both
served ripe without reserve.

She’s been cursed
with a heart to love deeply
those who can’t;
blessed
to forgive deeper
those who won’t.

She’s been dressed
in more distress
than she can rehearse
how to heal in front of you.

She’s smiling
while her soul
continues to limp
on crutches.
Her ribcage
couldn’t protect her heart
from feeling so empty,
so exposed,
so vulnerable to trust
foreign hands not to fold
under the pressure
of a genuine friendship.

It’s not that she’s mean,
or sour,
nor any of its synonyms
for that matter but,
sometimes,
she too bleeds.
Sometimes,
she chooses to show her calluses
from trying so hard
to gain your acceptance,
your attention,
your love.

Sometimes,
she’s more human
than hero.
Sometimes,
salvation is masked
in surrender.
Maybe she too
forgets how to fly