What I Came From


Just wanted to put a little trigger warning in front of this poem, because it does talk a bit about some tough subjects such as mental health, abuse, neglect. I understand how triggering that can be for people, so just proceed at your own risk.




When I was 12 years old
My mother told me
That I’m too selfish
To be capable of love.

I loved my mother.
I loved her from the moment I opened my eyes.
She was the sun and moon and stars and earth
And everything comforting and holy
Warmth and exploration and safety
Before I could see anything else.

I loved my mother
Even when she hurt me
I brought her flowers shaped like hearts
That grew by the side of the steps of our porch
And I handed them to her
Desperately searching
For her attention,
I sang a song
About my love for her.

I loved my mother
Even when she divorced my father
I climbed onto her lap
And kissed her cheeks
And she told me to stop.
I loved my mother
Even when I watched her slip
Farther and farther away,
But maybe she was always gone
And I just didn’t know yet.
I loved my mother
When she let me run around
In the same dirty, pink tutu
Every day,
Lost in imaginary worlds and fantasies.
When I awoke at night
To see her crying in the kitchen
I knew not to disturb her
But felt every ounce of her pain.

I loved my mother
Even when she uprooted us
Carried us across the world
Away from home
And expected us to be happy for her.
I loved my mother
When I walked before dawn every day
For an hour across the wintry city
Of Vilnius, Lithuania
Asking every white, marble angel
For help.
Every wish spent on her
Praying she could change again.
I loved my mother,
After every car ride
When she threatened to drive
Off the road and kill us all.
Through every drive to school
When she spent thirty minutes
Screaming about how I ruined her life.
I clenched the tears back
Until I reached the classroom
Where I sobbed and couldn’t explain why.

I loved my mother
Even as I watched her be consumed
By her illness
Piece by piece
Torn away
And replaced
with a monster.
Nights spent crouched in fear
As she slammed her body
On my locked door
After chasing me up the stairs.
At 10 years old
I felt a fear I had never felt before.
I froze deep like death
Big, salty tears streamed down my face
And I knew
That it would hurt me too much
To try to love her anymore.

Borderline is a word
That suggests
There is a line
Between reality
And other.
Between sanity
And other.
Between love
And illusion.

There is a line.
Between loving your children
and wanting them dead
Between wanting your children dead
And telling them.
Borderline suggests that
One day my mother slipped off
The face of the Earth
To somewhere else
That didn’t include us.
That perhaps one day
You stand at the edge of a cliff
Admiring the view
And before you know it
You’re falling down
And maybe you were the one
Who chose to jump.


2 thoughts on “What I Came From”

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