For the first time ever, I am participating in National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo)! I will be responding to the writing prompts posted on the NaPoWriMo site each day during the month of April. The goal is to write 30 poems in 30 days. Today’s prompt is: Today, we challenge you to write a poem that is based on a secret shame, or a secret pleasure. It could be eating too many cookies, or bad movies, or the time you told your sister she could totally brush her teeth with soap. It’s up to you. Happy writing!
When I was nine years old,
My mother went to the hospital,
unable to remember,
her own name,
or that I was her daughter.
There she battled for her life while
I went on with my life,
never missing a day of school,
where people would smile,
and teachers would ask if I was okay.
Of course I was okay, I thought.
And the house, already big, only seemed bigger,
without the person who made it home.
The waiting, like a quiet room filled with tension.
Finally I got to see her, lying as pale as the sheets that covered her hospital bed,
with her arms outstretched,
I was happy she knew who I was,
but I didn’t hug her,
because I was afraid her brain disease was contagious,
and I didn’t know any better.
My mom returned home weeks later,
but she wasn’t who she was before.
She was using new words,
and forgetting the words,
she used to know so well.
She was different,
and yet no one questioned it.
We just smiled at her, loving her,
not for who she used to be,
or who she would become,
but for the whole process that she was.
And years later, I found myself wishing I had
hugged my mom.