my mother

my mother never stops working;
even in retirement,
she’s never retired.

sometimes tired,
she doesn’t hide it;
let’s me know it now.

tired like she never had bound feet,
but had to bind her dreams;
had to trade pushing pens and paper to pushing pills,
tired.

tired like she raised a family
out of breath and bones and brains,
tired.

tired like watching your children leave the nest,
and trying not to worry about the rest
of our lives,
tired.

my mother,
tired,
but alive.

alive like ginger and ginseng,
homemade remedies I used to cringe at,
but now long for,
alive.

alive like the trembling quake of her snore
that reverberates down hallways
through ear drums,
and keeps me awake,
alive.

alive like no man could ever hurt me the way
my mom and dad love me,
alive.

alive like they tried to stomp us out,
to make our exclusion legal,
and keep our arms empty,
alive.

my mother,
never stops working;
loves and lives
as if every hour she does
she is paid in full;
is tired,
but living and alive and loved.

my mother.

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