Lew Jessen Moore

THE POEM I SAID I WOULD NEVER WRITE

Every mother of a child who is disabled
has at least one poem in her
about her child,
about the smile, the radiance, the beauty,
the joy, the gifts, the focus,
the new friends, the new purpose.

And every mother of a child who is disabled
has seen them all:
they get pressed into the hand by well-meaning friends,
they get sent anonymously and with names affixed.

These poems assert that everything is fine, everything is perfect,
the child is God’s special gift to the family,
life could not be better.

When my son was younger and the poems began appearing,
I vowed I would never write such a poem.
I would never deny the pain.
I would never blame God
as some of those poems do.
I wouldn’t add to the lies.

But time passed.  Now I understand those poems.

Now I know that every child is a bucket of pain
and a bucket of joy.
My son’s bucket of pain was too soon full
but that bucket is only half of his story.

A mother of a child who is disabled
wants other people to see
the bucket that is less visible to others
but most visible to her.

Maybe a poem can help.

—Cherry Winkle Moore