I Didn’t Know Your Love

I didn’t know, Mother
How gently you held me to your chest
The hours you invested in my nourishment
The nights you were the only one awake with me
The days you forfeited to make me
A little bit of a better person
Years slipped by like baby breaths
Trips to Safeway for Saltines and licorice
At every piano recital and gymnastics meet
Every haircut, heartbreak, and injury

The love you poured into me and you got nothing
The love you poured around me when I closed myself up
As I dug at my arms with a switchblade and
Wrote notes on how to tie a noose and
Pushed away my birthday cake and
Shut myself in my room to get high
And spent nights crawling out my window and
Lying to you
Thinking I wanted to die
So I refused you
And everything
You offered

And I’m sorry, Mother
When I was younger, I didn’t know
Your love is vast like an ocean
Your love sheds light in the earliest hours
Your love comes back like the tide on the shore
Your love is an unmoving mountain I tried to climb
Your love is the sun I see each morning and forget to acknowledge
And I’m sorry it took me so long to discover
When I was younger, Mother
I didn’t know

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Peach Beneath My Skin

Sometimes I press my fingers into the flesh beneath my belly button, to check
just in case, for symptoms of a new life.
Unlikely, yet still I monitor myself, awaiting seasick swells in morning light.

My fingers aren’t crossed for luck. But yes, I want to be safety.
I wish to be the world for someone, if only for those months.
You said I’d support you if you wanted to keep it as if it
were growing limbs already within my tissue.

It would only complicate my life. There are other lines
I need to cast first, to love you in a happier way.

I never thought how a child would mean you & I are forever combined.
You bite a crunchy white unripe peach and
I see a child’s skin and fragile skull, crushed between your teeth.