Friday, July 9, 2010

Independence Day

for Kate

There were early years
when it was not true
but I am your mother now.

I have been for fourteen
of these much troubled years,
you just this year
in your majority.

As I always have,
I will hold you in my arms.
I will drive you to the doctor
or the shelter
or the drug store for condoms.

I will feed you dinner,
buy you groceries,
pay your heat bill,
brush your hair out slow.

I’ll help you write your appointments on a calendar,
I’ll send for another insurance card
when you lose the one I just gave you.

I will listen to your stories,
even when you repeat yourself,
even when you contradict what you just said.

I will hold my tongue when you rant wildly,
I will offer gentle wisdom just when you might listen.
I will keep my phone on all night,
will read your angry texts,
and promise not to respond in kind.

I will lose sleep,
just as I have
since you were little
and scared of the night.

I will be the most reliable presence
you have ever known –
that will not change.

I will laugh with you,
watch chick-flicks with you,
while I paint your toes orange.
I will cook for you,
pray with and pray for you.

I will tell my friends about you,
about you and me, about my love for you,
about the young woman
you’re becoming,
about your confusion,
and mine.

I was when you lived with me,
I am when you plead with me,
I am ever more your mother.

But I am
no longer
your home.

(cc) Karen G. Johnston