Last fall, I took a course that involved creative writing. We had to do a lot of random poetry assignments, and for some reason most of my poems ended up being about my mother. I wanted to post here one that I particularly like… We were tasked to write a poem about the first date we can remember seeing clearly in our minds. (We were supposed to model it after a famous poem about a date on a calendar or something but I can’t remember the title.) Anyway, I completely made up the date and the scene and events surrounding it, but I still wrote the poem about the true event of my mother’s passing and my desires to see a particular movie while she was in the hospital. I wanted to post this now because it shows my mingling of escapism with grief, and it mirrors some of the emotions I am experiencing even now as an adult in mourning over the loss of my dad (for instance, I’m rereading The Lord of the Rings, and it is still helping me cope, just as it did ten years ago). If you are interested, please read the poem below.
January 26, 2003
In Azusa, California, you sit on a bench outside the ICU.
Dad is behind the double doors,
watching Mom breathe in and out.
You are waiting for him to come get you
so that you can go see the second part to The Lord of The Rings.
You’d see mom later,
she couldn’t talk right now anyway.
Your Uncle sits next to you –
he’d flown all the way from Baltimore, but you don’t know why –
Mom’s fine, nothing serious.
You watch him reading the Sunday paper,
or pretending to read, you’re not sure.
You look over at the nurses’ station,
They chat to each other in their pastel uniforms,
Pinks and purples, flower patterns and polka dots.
One of the older ladies wears a blue shirt covered in teddy bear faces.
She looks at you,
but quickly looks away.
You glance at your Uncle again,
his dark black hair hanging in his brown eyes,
his puffy cheeks, his nose curved like Mom’s.
You follow that curve to the Sunday Paper,
but you can’t make out the words.
Blank ink blurs together on gray paper,
and you can just make out the date at the top:
January 26, 2003.
In three days, Dad will tell the doctors to stop the respirator,
but you don’t know that right now.
All you are thinking about
is that it’s been over a month since The Two Towers came out,
and you still haven’t seen it yet.
You don’t want to think about the white sterilizing walls,
the chemical smell clinging to the air,
the machines keeping Mom alive,
and whether or not her soul is still in there,
or if it’s just a body in a bed now.
You want to watch Frodo and Sam
hike through treacherous landscape on route to Mount Doom.
You want to watch Aragorn – gorgeous, silver-eyed Aragorn –
save the hobbits, save Helm’s Deep, save the world,
Your uncle puts his arm around you,
and you want it to be Aragorn.
You don’t want Uncle Dave to pull you from Middle Earth,
you don’t want to go back to January 26, 2003.
“It’s okay,” he says, and you know it’s not.
You realize now that you have been crying.
Dad emerges from the double doors,
And you can’t handle that vulnerable look on his face.
“Hey, kiddo,” he says,
and you can hear the quiver in his voice that he’s trying so hard to hide.
“Let’s go to the movies.”
© Robyn and Chased by Light, 2013. Unauthorized use of this material without permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given with direction to the original content.