19 January 2007

A Poem for my Mother

When he was two
my brother asked
"Mama, when will I go to live with my real mama?"
"I am your real mama," she answered
but he kept asking for years.

The first night we moved to Amman
the kids ran home and left him at the corner store
and he walked, never crossing the street,
until he was so far away
he sat on the curb and cried.

My uncle's old white van
sped to the masjid
where a nice man had taken my brother
and my mother
hugged him and kissed him
and cried out of joy.

Fourteen years later
in her kitchen, chopping onions
my auntie tells me
she couldn't believe it
because when she saw her own daughter
practically fall out of their ninth story window
she ran up the stairs
to beat her
"and your mother just held him
kissed him and said 'it's okay, it's okay.'"

Because my mother has always loved us
more more more
and I don't know how she does it
in the face of being asked,
"Mama, when will I go to live with my real mama?"

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