imaginary letter: from first mother

I met your daddy in the cool of winter when there were no stars shining through the bare branches of trees. He was kind to me, when I was myself unkind. I thought I loved him because when he smiled, his eyes danced with a kind of light. But he did not smile nearly often enough.

Do you know how many times I tried to walk away? How I had to harden my heart? The third time – it was only then that I could go. How hard my heart had become. The first time, then the second: To see your face, your mouth upturned, your eyes red and filled with tears. My beautiful daughter – how grateful I was for a girl.

You were born so early in the morning. In the blue light of morning, I felt you awaken inside me. She is ready, my morning flower.

You emerged from my body, so difficult. They cut you out of me, feet first. Did you decide, even then, that your feet would always land on hard earth? Did you know, even then, how you had to prepare for falling?

I begged you to turn. Your body so tight within me. Begged you to turn, but you are stubborn, morning flower. And your body does not yield. You are taken from me. You are torn from my body and this, it seems, is only the beginning.

The doctor cuts a line along the length of me. From this bloody mouth you are extracted.

I cannot take you to the breast, to feel your mouth on me. Do you know – do you know how a mother’s body aches for this? Do you know how my breasts blossomed for your hunger? How my body swelled to feed you, but could not –

It is late, daughter. I am so weary. After all these years, I have not found you. I sit here in this city, the filth rising from the streets, rising from my body.

The blue light of morning. Persimmons ripening on our table.

I left you there, with a basket of persimmons and a card bearing a simple wish: Please, love this daughter of my heart.

I have a cancer, they say, and it is true. It is right that I should have this in my body. From the day I let them cut you out of me, I have been dying. The doctors cut into my body again. This time, to take out the poison. But the poison is in my heart, I say. But they do not listen.

As the days pass, I long for these things: To hold your forehead against my lips; to inhale the sweet milk of your breath; to hold your mouth against my body and just once, feel you draw strength from me. From me, who has so little left to give.

Today it is cloudy and there is talk of an approaching typhoon. It seems it will rain soon and the sky is so dark.