I Am My Mother’s Son

Long, long ago
before the lilies wilted
my mother told me the story of
the hare and the tortoise

With the sunlight in her eyes
and words that balleted gracefully
she passed the sage advice of my grandmothers,
‘Slow and steady wins the race’

A pause
A silent intake of air
A bird’s song
A moment

From her,
I learnt the art of creating time
creating enough time
to plant my feet firmly onto the soil

‘We do not go by the time
that flows through city lights,’
she said
as she tended to her garden

I walked slow
and so
I walked alone
Nature giving me company instead of civilisation

Boys around me
inhaled gun powder,
drank petrol
and got touched by aggression’s lips

They called me to
the war of meaningless meanings
called me meaningless
when I refused to go

when swords broke
and bones splintered
they found enough meaning
to come weep into my arms

I could sense
quantum entanglement at play
So many possibilities
to push them away

I spread out
my mother’s arms
and held them close
just like she did on nights
when my heart was not enough
for myself

The present often imitates the past
in being cruel to me
I often get decreed
an anomaly

my softness, a fragility
my gentleness, a vulnerability
my warmth, a glitch
my humanity, a case of failed masculinity

But my mother’s blood
flows in me, replenishes me
and I cannot deny my veins
the power it carries

TV screens blare
deep voices attached to
strong arms and bared torsos
and call it strength

My strength is different
It is not there but it is there
and it will take more than a naked eye
to see it, feel it.

Do not interpret my tears
as a sign of withering
I am merely using them to prepare
the elixir of faith and perseverance

Such is the knowledge
imparted unto me by my mother
that defies empiricism
In light of this, how can I not say
I am my mother’s son

Jude Jose is a curious student who is trying to make sense of his reality and its nuances whilst carving out his space.

Featured image credit: Blauth B./Pixabay