Saturday, May 2, 2009

POEM: please baby, don't wake

please baby, sleep, don’t wake
because I cannot put you back to sleep
I don’t know how, anymore
without giving you what you want
and cannot have
I am so lost

oh my darling boy, you will never remember
how sweetly you suckled at my breasts
the tenderness with which I stroked your hair
soft, golden like my own
the loving way you gazed up at me
blue eyes turning green
like mine

when you were first born
our nursing was harder than with your sister
sometimes it doesn’t go easy
but because I had the gift of her
I knew
and I kept going
and you learned, quickly
we worked it out

as you grew you came to my breast
less often
this is as it should be
a busy toddler has things to do
to become
I imagine it is easy at that age
to lose the connection
just a little
but my breasts kept us tied
for those precious times
when you wanted comfort
or to sleep
or just to remember that you were loved

I had assumed that like your sister
our nursing would continue
until you were much, much older
you, like her at this age, showed no signs
of giving it up any time soon
but then this cancer happened
and Mama’s ta-ta’s are not okay
they are broken
and I must take them away from you
or be taken away from you myself

it sounds so simple
but it is the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life
and I mourn for this more than for anything else
I might lose

last night you woke
lying next to me
wanting my breast
I said no, hoping you would drift back to sleep
but you didn’t
yet I thought I had to remain firm
for what will happen during the days to come
when my breasts offer you poison
and not the sweet milk you crave?

you cried, Daniel, my darling
you begged, “Mama, pease!”
I cried, I rocked you, I cursed the universe
for making me do this wretched thing
to one I love more than life itself

and I do, my Daniel, love you
more than my own life
if I thought it would be best for you
or your sister
I would die
I would let the cancer take me
and give you my milk till the end
you must believe that

but I know what you cannot
that to lose me would be worse

I want you to forgive me
so much it is a physical ache
that will hurt more than anything
wrack me with more pain
than this cancer will ever inflict

but it is not for myself
that I want your forgiveness
although I would treasure it
more than you could know
it is for your own sake
that I want you to forgive Mama
please, my baby, my heartsong
you must not let this divide you
from your mother
for you still need me
that you and your sister still need me
is what I am living for

please baby, sleep, don’t wake
Mama loves you


SarahA said...

Aw heart wretchingly beautiful.I love the repetition of the word 'sleep' at the beginning and end.
Lovely worded, you.

Mervat said...

Your pain is so raw. I am so sorry.


PS After I learnt that you were weaning young Daniel I wrote a poem myself. I would like to email it to you to read first and to get your permission to post it on my writing blog. My email is:

Thank you dear friend.