Mom, You Should Know

james visual
Artwork by James Han

Daylight cut me from sleep

like a seam ripper but

the threads of a nightmare

were still knotted to my

hair

 

like loose ends of a bad

dream where you were married

to a dinosaur in

dad’s clothes who swallowed you

whole

 

Mom, you should know:

 

It’s hard for me to go

home when I see that home

is built on your broken

back and I try to help

but

 

I can no longer watch

you braille out a meaning

of cancer from some God’s

invisible will, through

tears

 

Mom, you should know:

 

Two lungs never could seem

to hold all the air I

needed to spit thistles

in your face, but I still

did

 

even though they made you

bleed and sob and scar and

I’m sorry for the times

I was a dinosaur

too

 

Mom, you should know:

 

If dinosaurs still lived

they’d be lonely, searching

for meaning in a world

they could no longer call

“home”—

 

so they’d rule without love

over those who would bear

with it, who would always

love them despite their sharp

teeth

 

Mom, you should know:

 

You always have more love

to give than you get in

return, but sometimes I

dream, in fear, that you will

give

 

everything you have and

all that will be left will

not be enough for you

to give yourself what you

need

 

Mom, you should know:

 

I went to hell and back

in the darkness of a

closet and I came out

a dinosaur, alone,

scared,

 

unable to trust you

not as my mom, but as

a believer in God,

even though you’d love me

still

 

Mom, you should know:

 

Since the man you married

refused to grow, to change,

he slowly turned into

a dinosaur, alone,

scared

 

now he sleeps in your house

with a crown of your gold

on his head, gnashing his

sharp teeth and controlling

you

 

Mom, you should know:

 

I’m happy you are here

and alive, even when

I didn’t know if you’d

survive the spread of a

cell

 

gone bad and rogue in your

body, but you did, just

as you did with my words

that sometimes ripped you to

shreds

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