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June #MeToo: A Poem for My Children

One of the hardest things I’ve faced in healing from my own childhood/teenage/young adult trauma was knowing that I passed effects of that trauma on to my own children. To be honest, they don’t want to hear any more apologies! What I can do, and what I strive for, is to live out my healing in my relationships with each of them. Even though they’re now adults, I’m so grateful that it’s not too late to heal some bungled parenting!

 

FOR MY CHILDREN

 

Only when I let you leave

will I discover you are not gone.

 

Small crimes lie beneath my eyelids

like tiny silver forks

 

even as the sun tells me I am here, now,

not there, then.

 

Then I did not know. Then I was eating

with tarnished silver, in secret, during the night.

 

(Let’s eat with our hands! It’s Anything-Goes-Night

            for the rest of our lives!)

When you were in France,

Iceland,

Utah,

Istanbul

I heard your infant wail

all the way inside my sanctuary.

 

I named you Freedom.

I named you Love.

But I wanted my own freedom

and I wanted to be the beloved child.

 

And I had to learn

long and hard

 

that you’ll have to learn

long and hard

 

That you, too, are in the sun

here, now, and always—

 

and in that light,

that age-long minute

 

is the stone wall, the glade, the mossy place

where you’ll inherit your names.

 

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