I am going to stop you in your thoughts for a moment to remind you of your mother’s smile. That’s what this poem is about – your mother, her beauty, and that smile she wears like fresh white sneakers on the first day of fourth grade. My mother scribbles masterpieces on scrap paper she doesn’t keep, because she is only a poet in secret; maybe I have always envied that. I write poems and sometimes some people tell me those poems tell them important things, but I always find myself wondering who put the important things in there, because it couldn’t have been me. Poetry is in my blood and all I do is bleed, and sometimes some people tell me that is beautiful, but it’s not. I know that I am not yet a poet, because I still write out loud, even though it’s for me. The beauty in my poetry is a coincidence that the struggle inside me can’t quite stomach, and I pollute my words with the word, “I” and I can’t even write a single fucking poem without a line that says I am the poet… because I am so desperate to exist.

My mother grows daisy fields on her cheeks fertilized by passion, and irrigated by pain, and that is why I am stopping you right now… because maybe your mother smiles the same way – all saved up and spread out and only as often as she needs to rid herself of decay. My cheeks grow dandelions, and I always thought they were so pretty until I was told they were weeds, and I spend most of my days wondering about the difference, and wondering if I can ever forgive the person who pointed it out. I am frantic, writing frantically and frantically pounding my skull in between thoughts to make them come faster. My mother knows when it is okay to cry.

On that last day in May I sometimes wonder about all the days we live over while we wait for summer and sunshine, and I wonder if rain will ever stop feeling sad. This is a poem I wrote for you about your mother, and for me about my mother, and also about my dark places, which are plenty. I know just where to go, but I am afraid of all means of transportation, save horse-drawn carriages, because I’ve never ridden in one, and they seem nice. Someday, someone will probably read this and tell me how far I have come, and I can only hope that my definition of far agrees, and it gives me peace. My mother is not embarrassed of me even when I am embarrassed of me, and there is an unholy amount of salvation in her teeth. So for just a moment, stop in your thoughts, and remember that smile – like fresh white sneakers on the first day of fourth grade.

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