A wise man once said, “Give me my roses while I yet breathe.”
I write this rose for someone who is closer to me than any other.
If you did not already know, this is a poem for my mother.
We do not say I love you much in this family,
the three words are saved up like precious stones
and only brought out to shine in prayerful silence.
But I knew, ever before I could understand, I knew
and replied in baby burbles and childish chuckles,
fluently speaking in tongues only God understands.
I am now grown, both in stature and spoken word
so I can imperfectly tell you in verse what it was I said.
I can finally say thank you for those nine months,
you suffered through crazy cravings and carefree kicks
just so the beat of your heart could be the metronome
my life’s drummer uses to decide the path my feet follow,
guaranteeing that no matter how far away I may go,
I will always be close to your heart.
I can say thank you for the sacrifices you made,
from giving me the sizzling choice piece of meat
though I inherited my carnivorous nature from you-
to leaving behind the job of your dreams, departing
and taking on a position you hated simply to feed me.
I want to tell you that when you stumbled home late
like a crazy person with hair sticking out everywhere,
drunk from exhaustion and looking like a caricature
of yourself but still somehow managed to cook dinner
before collapsing into a stupor, too tired to eat
you were more beautiful than Helen of Troy could dream.
I want to thank you for the mistakes you make,
the subtle messes you create in your carelessness
because they remind me that we are only human,
and that we can all be perfect in our imperfection.
I want to thank you for teaching me the strength inherent
in a good woman, so that when I one day have a wife,
I will treat her with the respect and reverence she deserves.
I want to tell you that I enjoy our casual conversations,
our little adventures when we get hopelessly lost in new places
and the laughter and joy we have shared over the years.
And even though I have grown too old to hold your hand
while crossing the street, I still hear your voice guiding me
whenever I come to a stop, stymied by a crossroad.
You were the first God I ever knew, your love so boundless
that I often wondered if I would drown if I tried to drink it in.
Thank you for that first push when I sat on the bicycle,
you taught me that with only a push I could soar the skies,
but thank you also for laughing at me when I crashed
because it taught me that failure is a part of being alive
and that pain is only temporary if we remember how to laugh.
There is no way to end this poem, because the relationship
between a mother and her child can never be ended,
so let me finish by translating what I cried as a child.
Simply put all I said was, “I love you too Mom”.