grown

I think the first time you grow up
is when you get sick and there is no one
to take care of you, no one to force
slippery rice congee down your throat
they are too far geographically
or emotionally because of all
you have withheld out of fear

I think the first time you grow up
is when no one is there to cool you
with rags dripping in cold water
and instead you must drag
your aching body to the shower
and sit on the floor
in huddled darkness
your hands clutching your face
wordlessly screaming
as the hot water flames your body
in New York where the walls are so close
so thin, that even in the shower
with the fan on
you have to cry silently

and now I know that I have to
bear children, even with no man,
just to know what it is
to feed a child while their hand
is pushing yours away
to love that which is repulsed by your love
or at least has decided it doesn’t need it

motherhood, that
perpetuation of mistakes
which is all the same one
of not knowing which love is needed
and that perpetuation of love
which is all the same one
of knowing that no matter the magnitude of mistakes,
the lack or excess,
the mode of delivery,
it is needed

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