I am not a poet. I generally fail at spoken word. With that being said, I wrote a poem for my mom. It has been challenging for me to be a member of a “host family” in The Gambia. I appreciate all the mothers, especially the one here that has housed and fed me…but…no one can be Marilyn.
//To my mother.
I have a new perspective on what this title means to me after
I was given a new mother to take care of me.
She has watched me, as you had, start to speak new words.
She has slowly watched me grow and learn and culturally mature.
I’ve cried at least…three times (?) to her and told her I was mad.
I took the time to tell her about the loss of dad.
We’ve spent countless hours underneath the stars
Silently acknowledging the “lulu” (stars) that we see from afar.
She has taken on this title…and yet I see her with her own.
The ones she loves with her whole heart, the ones that she has grown.
She holds the strength of 1000 women to care for them alone.
A single mother, working hard down to the very bone.
The whole thing reminds me of this fact…
I still can’t call her mother, because she isn’t you.
You shared your breath, your life, your body while you knew I grew.
My first words were spoken from my lips, because you put them there.
My morals, decisions, ideals, and joys developed from your soul,
The soul that holds my broken heart with arms to hold me close.
How many tears I’ve cried to you, how many laughs we’ve shared?
For all of those I’ve bore my heart to about our loss and hurt,
You are the only one whose heart has sank heavy deep down into the earth.
And although there is a mother, here, that I tell you all about,
The title I take as “daughter”… I often sigh and doubt.
But you? You are my mother, my council, and my friend.
And for all the “host mothers” temporary love, your love is real to the end//