Instructions

I’ve grown up and so have you

And life’s been fast like a clock is fast

When it runs on time

But today it hasn’t.

 

So I’m wondering two things:

One is when you decided

To become my mother if

You first bought a crib or a handbook

 

And two is simply if I showed you –

Amid the excitement of my kicks

And the pain Autumn brought –

If I showed you you had ankles?

But I grew up and so did you

And life was fast like a clock is fast

When it runs on time until

I learned to speak.

 

What’d you think about that –

That I was smart?

That I was special?

Yes, special, it must have been

 

Special, that forgotten synonym of “unusual”

Because finding life in the universe

Is like finding a quarter in the pavement

That usually only opens for dust and weeds.

But I grew up and so did you

And life was fast like a clock is fast

When it runs on time until

I asked if our souls would touch after death.

 

And I remember kissing you

Goodbye at school and just wanting

You to promise me that you’d

See me at the end of the day;

 

Is that what drove you to the drawer

For a pen and a prayer of love

On the napkins I’d use to wipe

The peanut butter from my lips at lunch?

But I grew up and so did you

And life was fast like a clock is fast

When it runs on time until

I told you I was sad

 

And for a moment I didn’t exist

And you hadn’t yet become a mom

And you prayed that questions lacking

Answers was a temporary nuisance

 

Just as I did when I asked you if

Our souls would touch;

I was more curious

Than I was concerned.

But I grew up and so did you

And life was fast like a clock is fast

When it runs on time but now

I’m concerned and I want to know.

 

Clockwork like heartrates

Ticking and tocking

And beating and thumping

Knowing only to keep going

 

Yet knowing nothing

About what they’re doing

And why they’re doing it –

EKGs like sheet music, not music itself.

But I’ve grown up and so have you

And life’s been fast like a clock is fast

When it runs on time which

I guess is why I’m good at dancing.

 

But I wish I were better

Because I think that’s where the

Answers might be

So I signed up for a swing class.

 

For now, though, I’m still lost

And have questions like if

Being a mother is taxing or uplifting

Or if you’d rather a hug

 

photos by, Jacob Goldberg