by Tess S., 17

Mother [verb]

to bring up with care and affection.

My mother is quiet & kind, perhaps the epitome
of the very word.
I shall try my best not to make this cliche,
but she is home &
I wish not to deprive her of that.

My mother thinks she is undeserving of love.
She worries she takes up too much space,
makes too much noise.
My mother sleeps on the couch,
the empty bed in my sister’s room,
anywhere but alone in her bed.

My mother plays the piano
in pianissimo & sings with the style
of a high school choir.
She shoos the cat away from my door
on Sunday mornings
& walks away in silence.

My mother prays to the stars, not a god.
& I hope she asks them for answers,
I hope she asks them for help
because she will never ask me.

My mother has shown me a love so deep,
like craters on the moon she loves me to & from.
I watch her age in the mirror,
backwards, until she is young again.
I tell her not to settle & hope my words stick.
I hope the spark never leaves her eyes.

Southeastern Pennsylvania