Transcribed from recording of performance at House of Loom Omaha, NE 04/12/2014.
All that remains is a skeleton of me.
So, day after day, I fold the waist of these size-zero pants. I wear the same old baggy, brown underwear. How can this free bird be caged? My knees have turned purple from kneeling on the bathroom floors for hours in prayer.
Lord, you have become my only salvation. Why have you chosen to let me see so much sorrow? To experience so much pain? Noah and Cheeto, you took them away from me before I could even remember them. Do you have to separate me from Cheeto and Simba too?
I search the wrongs I’ve done and I can’t find justice for this.
I whimper and weep. When no eyes are staring, I can no longer swallow anything solid.
Daily, they have taken notice so they sacrificed the cartons of milk, so I must nourished somehow. I spend my days writing. I spend my days writing and writing away. Maybe if I die tomorrow, my children will know the person I was. Will they understand the passions I had? Will they see how much I loved to laugh? And I loved to live? Will they see the strength I’ve carried all my life?
As I lay on this steel frame the size of a box that is my bed, with no pillow to catch my tears nor hold my weary head, I see myself jump down from this bunk, sheet in hand overlooking the rails, and something stops me. Where am I going?
Again, I’m weeping, for I know such despair. When finally my tired eyes shut, I see them running to me, arms stretched out wide, little square teeth shining, “Mommy, mommy!” they call.
Yes, this was a day in the life of my darkest day, but I thank you, the universe, for I have lived to see the day that they ran to me, arms stretched out wide, little square teeth shining, calling “Mommy, mommy.”
Poem copyright Felicia Webster, used here with permission.