Things I Wish I Told My Mother Before She Died: A Poem by Ezra Solway

The poet and his mom

Things I Wish I Told My Mother Before She Died

I killed a duck once. I sliced the neck, plucked the feathers
and licked the bones in a bath of cream.
I never told you about the ink fading inside the pink of my gums.
I lied by omission more than your cheeks freckled on hot summer days.
You taught me the difference between childish and childlike.
I yelled because I was terrified of living
in a world without you. Hearing you play the piano
made me want to sing. What the obstetrician should have told you
that day, is this: He’ll stretch the walls of your heart
over the horizon. He’ll thin your patience, revise your dreams.
But listen. He’ll do all those things while breathing
your name. He’ll carry your tears with open palms
and whisper those same words you whisper now—
it will be okay it will all be okay.

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