Daily Prompt: Calm

via Daily Prompt: Calm


You glare at me

You shout

You question

You demand an answer

You cry

You rave

You scream for the heavens to hear

You wish

You pray

You beg for deliverance

From me

From my gaze

From my knowledge

About you

You walk away

You slam the door

You curse

You swear

You call me responsible

For everything that’s wrong

You run at me

You punch

You throw things

To hurt me

You hurl threats

Harsh words of warning

You call me names

You say things

That you don’t mean


You say things that you don’t mean…


You say things that you never mean…


So, I stay calm

I don’t flinch

I keep quiet

I don’t give in

I smile at you, my baby

I hold my hands out


When you tire out

When you run out of things to say

When you’ve cried yourself out

When you’ve screamed until you can scream no more

When you stumble

When you hiccup

When you fall

When you collapse

I’ll be right here…


I’ll stay calm

I won’t flinch

I’ll keep quiet

I won’t give in

I’ll smile at you, my baby

I’ll hold my hands out to you…


For I’m your mother

And this is my promise to you,

My dearest; my baby.



Image Credit: A Hopeless Dawn by Frank Bramley.


The Heart Forgets

I was told that the heart forgets.

I didn’t believe them.

I thought I’d never forget what my mother said about my 5th grade report card.


But, I did.


That very night, in fact,

When she brought a plate of my favorite rice to appease my sulking self.


Many more times after, you forgot.

You forgave.

I didn’t even notice.


I studied about atria, ventricles, and myocardium

And forgot that you did anything other than pump blood.


But, whenever I was in a quandary and

Needed to make a decision,

I asked, and I was answered

And I believed;

Because, I was told to follow my heart.


Blinded I was, by your soft nature and

Your optimism.


Why, I ask, should I follow you?

Why should I follow an organ so treacherous to its own self?

Why should I follow something so foolhardy as to not have an ounce of self-preservation?


I didn’t notice for so long

And I followed you.

Today, I stand in this empty room and wonder,

Why did you lead me here?


And I answer:


You’re stupid

You forgive

And you forget.


But, not this time.


This time, I will not let you forget.

I will write it down

I will record it on tape

I will tattoo it across my arm for all I care;

But, I will not let you forget.


I will not let you forget

How much it hurts

How many tears I shed

How much it made me doubt myself

How many times it shattered my self-esteem.


I will not let you forget

This empty room

This empty feeling

This hollowness in my gut.


I will not let you forget;

I will not let you forgive.

This time, I call the shots,

You hear?

I will decide

And you-


You will remember


With each layer of your pericardium, epicardium, myocardium and endocardium,

You will remember.


And you will not cry

You will not break

You will hold fast to what you know

You will hold tight to me

And my sanity

And together, we will once again find a reason to smile,

To laugh

To fly into the sky and live among the clouds.


But, you will not forget.





Who are you?

Memories cheat me

Make me think it was yesterday

That I met you

When in reality,

It was years ago.


I feel new, awkward

Still on tenterhooks

Like a new friend with a new friendship

Making my way across

Like walking a tightrope


You keep me guessing

Teasing and playing me around

Offering me a hint, then laughing it off

Never sure, never certain

Never really knowing who you are


We play games in my mind

With my mind, in my heart

We say things, we make plans, we promise

But, I still stand here

Uncertain, unsure, doubting you


Your presence calms me

And excites me

Your voice lifts me up and puts me down

Your existence makes my dreams

Come true


You make me question myself

Doubt myself

Second-guess my thoughts, my words, my life

You bring me down to nothing

You make me everything I am



You are the one in my shadow

In my reflection in the mirror

You’re the one in my sweat, in my breath, in my heart beat

You’re the one in my head

In the blood running through my veins


You’re the one birthed in me

By me, for me

You’re the one living with me, dying with me

You’re the one in me

You’re me


You’re me and I’m you

And I ask you,

Studying my face, my eyes, my eyebrows, the curve of my lips

Studying my reflection in the mirror,

Who are you?







Don’t Let Me Go

I want to run to you

So, you can hug me

Hold me in your arms

And not let go for a long time.


I want to run to you

So you can hold my hand

And my head on your chest

I will listen to your heart beat

Like a child at its mother’s breast

And you will tell me it’ll all be okay

Everything will turn out alright.


I want to run to you

So, you can keep me safe

You can keep me contained

From all that’s out there

The dangers, the temptations

The crooks and the charmers

The bad decisions waiting for me

To make my call and ride myself to hell.


I want to run to you

Because you know me

Yet, you judge me not

You know my ills, my pitfalls

Yet, you stand by me and be my friend.


I want to run to you

Because you seem to keep my world

From collapsing

You seem to hold the wrecking ball

Off for a little while longer.


I want to run to you

Because you told me one night

That you love me

And you’ll be there for me.


I want to run to you

Because I need you now

I want you to hug me

And not let go for long, long time.



Just a girl standing in front of a boy

“Was he looking at her?” she wonders as she laughs. After all, she did spend a few extra minutes with the mirror today.
Changed her hair; changed her clothes; her lip gloss from April showers to Scent of May.

“Who cared if he looked at her?” she thought again, brushing her hair back, turning in her seat, away from him.
She knew her legs showed off to perfection in this particular position.

“Did he just smile at me?” a pretty blush spreads at that thought and she shifts again.
Her face now in full view, if he wished to look her way.

“Oh God! He’s laughing at me!” red deepens in her cheeks and colors her neck. She snaps her mouth closed and wishes for the floor to open.
It could swallow her up; put her out of her misery.

“Oh! He’s not laughing…but, he’s not looking either,” her face wilts and her hair hangs limp. She feels disgusted with her plainness, her lack of “oomph!”
Again, she wishes for the earth to open its merciful jaws and swallow her in.

“Maybe, if I was like her…” she glances shyly at her friend who had more than filled out her dress. Her loud colors and her vivid personality.
She shrinks like a daisy beside a rose, invisible, immaterial, shrouded in ignominy.

“I did try, though…” she glances down at herself, what she thinks is a pitiful excuse for a self and wonders why she even tried.
Tears fill her eyes, but stay unshed, but also, undried.

“As if he would ever look at me…” she feels disgusted, stupid, like a little kid who jumped off the roof
because he thought he could fly.

“Don’t shoot for the stars, stupid…” she tells herself, orders herself, commands herself, requests herself,
and the traitorous heart which seemed to have moved out of her chest on to her sleeve.

“Come on, then, move on. Aren’t there more fish in the sea?” she bolsters her heart and picks up the pieces, unstuck as they were.
She puts them aside to have a good cry with, later, in her bed that night and joins in the laughter surrounding her.



“She looked at me, didn’t she?” he glances over covertly, hoping to catch her eye.

“She does like me, doesn’t she?” he stares at the back of her head, now walking away from him
hair swishing, hips swaying, with a flick of her head as she chances a single look back.

“Should I ask her out? What if she says no?” a step ahead, a step backward, he paces unnoticed by his friends
in an agony of the unknown, of a jumper about to take the leap off a cliff.

“Maybe next time…” he deflates as she disappears round the corner, head bowing, shoulders slouching.
He turns away as a friend calls, determined to put her behind him and yet, seeing her face in every reflection.


“Umm…excuse me?” she taps his shoulder, heart pounding in her breast, blood filling in her cheeks; breath caught in her chest.
She hoped she hadn’t swallowed her voice along with the knot of nervousness in her throat.

“It’s her! It’s her! It’s her!” his brain seemed stuck on repeat, as his feet turned to lead and knees to jelly.
He wanted to lean over and retch out the ball of anxiety lodged in his belly.

“C-can I borrow your book? I see- I mis- I lost mine,” she blushed at her stutter and resisted the urge to disappear.
She stood straight, looked him in the eye, hoped he didn’t think that she was out of her mind.

“Will you go out with me?”
Did he say that out loud? He did say that out loud! His brain went into overdrive, cursing himself, swearing at his stupidity.
He could feel his palms sweating, the jelly spreading from his knees, taking over the control of his feet.


Did he just ask me out? He did just ask me out! What should I say? Oh dear! He’s looking at me. He’s waiting for an answer!
I want to agree. How do people agree with each other? Should I say I do? But, that’ll freak him out! What’s the word to say yes? How do people say yes?”

Why isn’t she saying anything? Did I freak her out? Of course, I freaked her out. You idiot!
She’s taking time to let me down. How mean of her!
To leave me hanging like this! To let me wallow in this agony! I don’t like her at all! She’s amazing. I love her.”


Say yes! Say yes! Say yes! Her thoughts running wild in the silence stretching between them

“She said yes. I knew this would happen…” he took a step back, dejected, certain he had been denied, that yes meant no…

“Yes, I’ll go out with you.”



Then, for the first time, she took his hand, shyly
and he took hers, hesitantly…

“Yes…How silly I was…” and she smiled at the boy who liked her back.



I fail, Mother.

I keep trying to write about you

A description

A story

A one liner

An epigram

I fail


I keep trying to put to paper

What I mean to you

What you mean to me

I fail


I write about the world

About things in the world

About people in the world

I write about family

About friends, boyfriends

About work, play and life in between

Even about death and life after

But, then I turn the page over

Put my pen down and think of you

Try to conjure up words for you

To describe you, to catch you in print

In a few strokes of ink, in a picture with letters…

I try to paint you, mother…


I fail.


She was 11 months when she let go of his hand for the first time.

She walked on her own for the first time and

he used both his hands to clap happily.


She was 5 when she let go of his hand for the second time.

She crossed the street on her own for the first time and

he kept both his hands in his pockets as he was ordered to.


She was 8 when she let go of his hand for the third time.

She went off on her own in the crowded exhibition grounds and

he wrung his hands in agony while running around shouting her name.


She was 11 when she let go of his hand for the fourth time.

She was meeting her friends at the mall and

didn’t want them to see her clutching her father’s hand and

he was only permitted to wave one hand goodbye.


She was 13 when she let go of his hand for the fifth time.

She was off to her first after-graduation party and

he used his hands to hold her for a moment while reminding her not to drink.


She was 16 when she let go of his hand for the sixth time.

She was off to her first prom and

he used his hands to click as many photos of the day as possible.


She was 18 when she let go of his hand for the seventh time.

She was off to college, living away from him for the first time and

he used his hands to carry all her boxes, settle the new mattress and fix the window in her dorm room.


She was 20 when she let go of his hand for the eighth time.

She was picking up her boyfriend at the airport when he came to visit her over the summer and

he shook the fellow’s hand with a firm grip and tried to convey all his fatherly bluster through that one handshake.


She was 22 when she let go of his hand for the ninth time.

She was working hard at her first job, even forgoing lunch midway with her father when her boss called that afternoon; and

he held his hands, firmly gripping the knife and the fork, even as they threatened to drop in his disappointment.


She was 26 when she let go of his hand for the tenth time.

She was getting married to the man of her dreams and

he used his hands to give her away with all the pride as the father of the bride, though,

in his deepest of hearts he wanted to take her close and never let her go.


But, he did let go each time,

feeling happy and at the same time sad, every time he had to,

because he was her father and she was his daughter, then,

turned away to hide his tears.


Now she’s 46 and he’s grown old and grey.

His hands weren’t as strong as they once were nor were his steps so sure.

So, now, she held his hand when he had to walk;

when he had to cross the street; and

when he wanted to click pictures of his granddaughter’s 16th birthday.


She held his hand until that moment on his granddaughter’s 16th birthday, when

he collapsed in the kitchen and had to be rushed to the hospital.

She held his hand until that moment when he briefly opened his eyes and smiled at her from the hospital bed.


Because she was the daughter and he was the father, she didn’t turn away when the tears fell.


Because he was the father and she was the daughter, he used his hands to take her hand and

pat it in an attempt to comfort her.


She held his hand until that moment when

his eyes closed again; and

at that moment,

for the first time in her life,

for the first time in his life,

the father let go of the daughter’s hand.