NaPoWriMo 5

What My Kids Will Write About Me in Their Future Tell-All Book

They will say that “no” was my favorite word,
more than stop, or eat, or love.

That some mornings, I’d rather stay in bed,
laptop on lap, instead of making breakfast,
that I’d rather write than speak.

They will say they have seen me naked.
Front side, back side—none of which
were my good side.

They will say I breastfed too long.

In the tell-all book my kids will write
they’ll tell how I let them wrinkle like raisins
in the bathtub so I could watch Red Sox at bats.

They’ll talk about how I threw out their artwork,
the watercolors and turkey hands,
when I thought they weren’t looking
and when I knew they were.

They’ll say that my voice was a slow torture,
that my singing caused them permanent hearing loss.

In the tell-all book my kids will write
as surely as I am writing this, they will say
I cut them off mid-sentence just because I could.

If there is a claim of neglect
there would be no evidence
to the contrary.

They’ll tell you how I got down on my knees,
growling my low, guttural disapproval,
how I grabbed their ears, pinched the backs of their arms,
yet they never quite knew who was sadder for it.

They’ll quote me in saying “I cry in the shower—
it’s the only safe place I can go.”

They will say she was “our sweet disaster.”

They will say I loved them so much it hurt.


Kelli said…
That's fantastic.

I think there's a tell-all book in my future as well and it would begin, "She forced me to read Emily Dickinson..." ;-)

This is a keeper. Enjoyed it.
Anonymous said…
this makes me love them and you -- and maybe myself (a fellow fallable human "poet mom") -- a little more.
Goodnight, Mom said…
Of course, I burst into tears reading this. I can't even imagine what my kids will write!

Finally have internet!
January said…
Thanks. Writing these poems takes so much out of me, and then I have to write another one for today. Ugh. Pressure.

Glad you have access again.
January said…
Carolee, Kelli--maybe we should get together a poetry anthology about bad mommy moments. *sigh*

Thanks for the kind words.
evie said…
i love this poem! their smiles in the bathtub picture tell the counterstory -- the "evidence to the contrary"... : )

thanks for writing it. i don't doubt that it could be published as is (not that we're focused on publication this month!). hope it'll find its audiences beyond your blog!
jillypoet said…
You have written my poem. The poem for all mothers. Sweet disaster, indeed. This poem has it all (just like a good mother): humore, sadness, joy, regret, lessons to be learned, and truth. Always truth. We just mother in truth. That's all we can do.
Anonymous said…
I'm not a mom but . . . fantastic!

I'm not sure how you feel about others linking to your work -but if you're open to it, may I link to this poem on my journal?
January said…
Link away, my friend! Link away.

Glad you liked my bad mommy poem.

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