To My Future Children

I first thought of you

when I was five years old,

I told my own mother how

I couldn’t wait to hold my baby

and know how deep her love is for me.

 

I thought of you again

when my inseparable bond to mother

was broken as she

looked at her reflection, saying hateful things

about her twin in the mirror,

but then turned to me, called me beautiful.

A hypocrisy I vowed to never let you feel.

 

I thought of you again

as I grew into myself and

began to see boys as more than playmates.

I wondered who would be lucky enough

for you to call “father.”

 

I thought of you again

When your grandfather died

half of me that you would never know, a lost

quarter of yourself. I began to construct

a soft white cameo of him, a necklace of ideas

you could hang on your neck

and know where you came from.

 

I thought of you all summer

that year, all fall and winter, too

As I balanced numbers resulting from tragedy,

I worried for you. So, I chose

your citizenship in a country

not my own, where I knew you’d never worry

like I did that year.

 

I thought of you

when my mother spoke of if she’d meet

you and my brother silently scorned the fact

that his children wouldn’t know their cousins.

I knew that you had a future brighter

than my tangled family tree.

 

You were conceived in my mind

long before I met your father,

long before I’ll hear your heartbeat, see you on a screen,

long before an empty room will wait for you to come home.

No matter how I stumble, how many new mother mistakes are made

Be assured I love you deeply,

I’ve loved you everyday.

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