My first shared poem
Happy Monday morning, friend. Last week, I told you about a poem that I wrote that was going to be sent out in the O.Henry Magazine weekly newsletter called The Sazerac. I wrote this poem after a rather frustrating evening of parenting during the pandemic at our house and posted it on facebook for my friends to read. I knew that it would resonate with some of them and I hoped it would show them that they are not alone. We are in this together. My editor read it and asked me to include it in the “Poet’s Corner” of our newsletter. I was floored, ecstatic and a little apprehensive. Imposter syndrome is a very real thing. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to share this poem? Who am I to think I can write at all?” Well, I ask you, “Who are you not to?” And in that spirit, I am sharing this poem with you today. It’s vulnerable but it’s honest and real and I hope that it helps some of you out there who have had these feelings in this challenging year. Without further ado, from last week’s Sazerac, I bring you Bounce.
We tell you it’s time to go,
away from your fellow unicorn hunters,
the soccer teammates who are your brothers.
Together, we say good-bye to the cape on the hill
where memories and your baby brother were made,
the sprawling yard filled with chicken feathers and memories of Frisbee tosses,
where two dogs are buried under the tall pines.
It’s OK, I tell myself,
kids are resilient.
You’ll make new friends, we tell you
as we shoo you out the door,
then peek out the window to the bus stop,
hold our breath.
Later, when baby and I play in the afternoon sun,
I’m praying that maybe you’ve gotten some numbers,
made some connections.
You come home,
walk inside to your room, close the door.
My heart breaks some more.
But, I remind myself,
kids are resilient.
In time, we settle into our routine.
You walk to the ice cream shop with new friends,
sharing secrets and giggles.
You dart across the soccer field,
passing the ball to a boy I don’t yet know.
You’re finding your groove.
We’re finding our groove.
I knew we would.
Kids are resilient.
You’ve done the work, bounced back as expected.
But no one could have predicted
your teen years would be tainted by unprecedented times.
I see your silent pain,
see you struggle and falter,
hear you long before you tell me
“I’ve lost motivation, Mom.”
Dad and I do our best, but we also falter.
We’ve never navigated these waters.
Now, on my knees, I ask,
Let my kids be resilient.
– Cassie Bustamante