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Mother’s Day

The seashore is deserted. Waves climb up
The stone pier. You stand there waving,
Younger than I knew you,
Before the unhappy marriage,
The children you never wanted,
Before the drugs and alcohol
Stole your dignity, ruined your children,
Hijacked your mind and killed you.

Your three boys gave you only one grandchild.
The oldest, David, left when his daughter was 3,
The only way he could stop himself from molesting her.
That was your legacy.
You left us your addictions and your loneliness.

I left them on the table when I saw you last,
Two weeks before you died.
You would scream, “I’ll never leave you a dime.”
You didn’t.

You said you were always good with people.
But only two people visited you in twenty years,
In our home painted black, on Long Island.

I don’t have children of my own.
I was afraid that if I had a daughter,
She would look like you.
I couldn’t be as cruel as you were to me.
That takes barbiturates, opiates and scotch.
Cruelty was the only thing you were good at—
That, and knitting.

Before I went to kindergarten,
You used to make me promise that I would take care of you when you were old.
Day after day—
You would hug the pillow and make me promise I would take care of you.
From third grade on, I was not allowed to have friends..
I had to come home right after school,
“to keep you company,”

I was never a little boy, just one of your dolls that came once in while,
Like Pinnochio.
“You are just like me” you said a thousand times.
That didn’t make it true.
I was just an extra in the fantasy you called your life.

Now you are an afterthought on two days,
On Mother’s Day and your birthday.

That’s it

Jason Reynolds
May 14, 2013

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