put me to sleep

because i wasn’t there for your:
birthday/
wedding/
anniversary

because i skipped out on:
your commencement/
your first time/
the last night/
christmas dinner; the baby,
I must give you this last song–
one line/
one word/
(letters in beat up shoeboxes
under the bed on the closet shelf
and the hole in the wall where
your fist made its first mark)
one more time, to sing together

before life goes on/
before the end is near/
before the lights go down
and the show is over. I just wanted

to say goodbye to you and…
well, to us. please

when i press this into your palm,
and close your little fingers over its edges,
though they may slice into your hand print
and become another whorl
new scars to exhibit:

don’t laugh and don’t make jokes
don’t lower your head and don’t look me in the eye
don’t reach for me and
t o u c h           my hand;

just walk away– and remember,
(if you need a bit of solace
or just a kick in the shins–)
you can always sit up
in bed at night and whisper that
“i was her mother”

(even though i’ve told you time and again i’m not a girl,
mommy i love you)

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