(for Lucita Romero Maiquez, 1940-2014, apologies too for being honest and being dark in this poem)
If I were to become a mother
it will be far from your mothering.
I know, it was not perfect, not even near
to a perfect moment between a mother and child.
But it was what you know, what you have instinctively
knew before anger, rage, and all the demons inside
your head began mothering the pain you had to suffer
in between breastfeeding, changing diapers
bringing a sick child to the nearest hospital,
cooking a meal the best way you can for your other child
and thinking about how will tomorrow’s bill
is due today, before it even arrives and becomes a burden.
It will not be the same way you have held me as a possession
but let me go to find myself out into the open, very much open
not the way I closed myself to you, to my father, and to anyone
not knowing deep inside I was not the son, or father you wanted to be.
But still, it is what you only know, and the only love you know
and knew like how you meticulously stitched the rip in my school uniform
or eventually gave up to my wish of a new shoes and notebooks
even though you yourself was worried for my future university fees.
It is what you know and what you knew amidst battling your own doubts
made even more difficult by the stormy moods and feelings you had
and anxious nights and days sleeping as we did not know
you have been nursing an enemy inside your beautiful mind.
Mother, I will not be a mother, I would not be even be a father
though you had left a big part of your instinct and kindness and ability to care
in me, now that I am facing my own demons and indecisiveness
in this age of a pandemic and ultramodern digital loneliness.
I would not, will not be like you, but I will be forever that child, your son
you have always adored, loved, and gave you those happy smiling eyes
despite all those demons hurting your fragile and valiant will
and those mornings seeing you took those more than two dozen sleeping pill.