my immigrant mother
What must it be like, to be you, mother?
Do you ever think of yourself? Do you ever consider being selfish, greedy, self-centered, to be the one who takes and not the one who gives, the first one at the dinner table and not the last, every Ramadan you listen to the kitchen table food critics, demands, a blur of mental notes you made but never once a complaint, but mother, I want to hear you complain.
Every Ramadhan you always kept your fast right at the end “there are 5 minutes left” I yell, upset that you couldn’t keep an eye on the clock or upset that you always put yourself last or upset that I was the only one who noticed.
Oh, what must it be like to be the fruit picker, to be the giver, but never intending on biting into the flesh?
What about home? Do you miss home? You miss home. You speak of your family, your sister, you tell us you see them in your dreams, you catch up with them but over the years you have become an outsider, a guest, we tell you. You protest.
The only time you show ‘want’ and ‘need’ is when you want to go overseas, to your motherland, to kiss your fathers’ hands, to discuss your mother’s death, a million times again, out of fear that you might forget. Her.
We remember that morning, 6 o clock, a call from 1,000 miles away broke your heart, it cut it open never to be stitched back up again. “Mother has passed away,” your brother said, and you were never quite the same after. You became fragile, so helpless, so in pain, every part of your body grieving, your fingertips mourning, having lost the chance to touch her face, kiss her hands, goodbye.
You picked up your bags to pursue your husband’s dreams and left half your joy at the border if you’d have known how much you were giving up, would you have stayed?
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