I wanted to be gentle but this gentleness turned me
into a flimsy fish. I wanted to hear him
but my ears grew mute to his demands.
I wanted to shield his heart from the pain of this world
but that only created bars high and tight
around experiences and people of different kinds.
I see now it was my own pain I attempted to cure.
Each of my decisions I thought was loving and lovely,
gentle and full of care was, at times, weak unsure and unstable.
He didn’t ask for the whip of a branch against his back
or even the tickling torment of leaves in blossom passively
directing his every move. He only wanted the solid foundation
of a tree whose roots never questioned its direction.
Jessica Malone Latham, M.A., is the author of cricket song: Haiku and Short Poems from a Mother’s Heart (Red Moon Press) and of the poetry chapbook, clouds of light (wooden nickel press). Her Japanese poetry has appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies. In addition to writing poetry of all forms, her prose has been featured on NPR’s local station, Brain, Child, Literary Mama, Mamalode, Mothering, SpeakMom and Tiny Buddha. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two young sons. Find more of her work on her website: www.jessicalatham.com or visit her blog: www.rowdyprisoners.com.