You may befriend the scarlet fox
whose steps fall silent on a freshly white meadow
But I shake hands with a balmy palm
Whose milk tastes sweet and cool inside that burlap shell
You are born with a strong beat
in both hand and heart
And mine too beats with zeal
but my fingers and lips play a softer melody, soothe like a violin bow
You confront life with volume
like your father, and his mother, and her grandmother
I cross my legs and take in what has now gone from a sticky bowl to a flaky pan
as a proper woman would, and I do, but only when I feel like it
You think and think and think some more,
after all, that’s what the greats were made of
And I do too
but with far less question marks
You come from a world between the cactus and frosty mountain
where the snow pants save or suffocate
But I, I am only from ice
and my, what boldness it taught me
You are from, “it is your choice”
from an internal war won with the might of heart and a little bit of Strattera
I have never known such things before I met you
I suppose he gave them to you too
Before you were free from inside of me
we met and married you with glee
Because I am you, and you are we
you see, that is what my mother said to me.
For those of you who aren’t me (obviously everyone), I’m not sure if you’ll get this. The poem is where I’m from, so a lot of it has subtle nuances that only myself or people very close to me will understand, I suppose. But it was still a great joy to write. If you happen to care enough to want to know what the italics and little things mean, I also suppose I can tell you that, because I really would absolutely love for people to read it and go, “Wow! I get that!” So here goes.
I figure that just as much as I from physical and mental experiences, I am also equally and literally “from” my mother, so the second half of each stanza is actually describing her, in all her loveliness, while the first half is me. I placed the pronouns for my mother and father in a normal font, while the ones for me are italicized, partly to help whoever is reading, but honestly it’s just as much for me to get my bearings as well. When, at the very end, I say, “that’s what my mother said to me” it’s my little way of saying that every time I have said “you” like it is someone else, it’s actually her talking to me, and then comparing how we are different from one another. Really, the whole poem is my mother speaking to me, explaining what I’ve done myself, what she’s done, and how both my own idiosyncrasies as well as hers have combined to make the me that I am.
I promise I haven’t married my mother, I promise. That “we” and “you” aren’t italicized because they’re my parents and my dad, who I am also from and share a great many similarities with (such as ADHD,,,hence the Strattera).
Mom hates the cold. I love it, and the beach too. I’m a drummer, she plays the violin. I never shut up, she is usually the calm, composed one with a few random bursts here and there. But it’s all in me. Her, me, my dad…all there. I’m made of complexity, like we all are, so I feel like making this poem simple and to the point would undermine the true wonder of how diverse and complex the process of becoming who we all are really is.
If you want to, go back and try it again, and I hope you understand. It would make me so happy to know that, because it’s a tribute to mom and my dad, but also their parents and grandparents and everyone else who comes from somewhere.
So here’s to you, for being you.