Read Poem: You, by Ashley Corcoran

Genre: Family

you were seven
and a half
your mother told you
to hide,
before your father came home
with a temper
and a belt

you were sixteen
and pregnant
your baby’s father
out running
his fingers
through someone else’s hair
while your morning sickness
kept yours
pinned back

you were twenty six
holding a new baby
in your arms
i’d kept you up for
three months
and your husband
comes home to
remind you
he would kill you
if you fell asleep
holding me

you were thirty three
holding me in your arms
as you wept
that it would be just us
it would be just us

you were thirty seven
and on a stress leave
from your back breaking
minimum wage job
trying with all your might
to stop me from becoming
my father
as you watched your little girl
until she forgot
where she came from

you were forty four
i cried that you left
me for the wolves
for what he did to me
while you were
breaking your tired bones
putting food on the table
for me
making sure i’d never
know hunger
like you did

you were forty nine
when i realized
the woman before me
was a person
entirely imperfect
but selfless
doing the best she could
in a life
that had given you
so much less
than you deserved
had given you less
than you deserved

you have always
a mother
beautifully imperfect
but loving
beyond measure
doing the best she could
with what
her years
had given her.

-Ashley Corcoran, “”

* * * * *

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