the night the girl left home

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The night before the girl left home

The night before the girl left home,
the home where her mother
gave birth to the girl
embraced the sleeping girl in her arms
let the girl white milk from her breast
watched the girl busy toddling
combed the girl’s black straight hair
taught the girl how to hold wood chopsticks
dressed the girl in polka dots for the first day of her school
prepared for the girl’s pink lunch box
with green-peas and white rice,
not to mention how picky the girl was
helped the girl with her art homework
scolded the girl for coloring her nails in red
let the girl have a sleepover party
found the girl’s secret diary under her bed
and waited for the girl the summer when she was gone to camp
the home where the girl had never
imagined being away from
any longer than summer camp
until this very moment

her mom came and sat beside her
holding her hands and staring into her eyes
and said in a determined voice
but with undisguised lament
don’t be afraid of what lies in front of you.
everything you will go through
is what I dreamed to be parts of my life
when I was a girl and
what I still wish to be mine
your experience will give wings to
fly away from this tiny world
where we have belonged
but remember that once you have belonged to here
and I will be here
watching you growing and making your way through
so follow your dreams and
make them come true
then I will see my dreams realized
by you
I will have a journey
through you

the girl whimpered and looked at her mom
wiping away tears on her mom’s face
and said in a low voice
but full of spirit

don’t worry mom
as I will be your wings
but you know
even if I turn out to be
the woman you wish me to be
I can never be the mother
to my girl
in the way you mean to me.





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