After Six Years, the Mother Struggles Against Regret

It is easy to look back
and think “I could have
done better.” And that is true.

I have given you too many toys.
I taught you growl when you’re
frustrated. (At the time it seemed

better than angry words.)
I have tried to pretend I was not wrong
when I was. I have grubbed

for time alone. Fussed
when I did not get it.
Talked too much on the telephone.

The list coils on itself like a noose
and I wonder in how many ways
I have poisoned the field,

not intentionally, but oh.
I try to tell myself you are like a tree
planted in a shadow. You will bend

toward the sun and find a way to thrive.
Nothing can stop you. We are wired
to struggle, to grapple, to twist,

to stretch, to mature, to survive. It is not
the shadows that shape us
but the reaching for the light.


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