Rebecca Hahn lives in Rhode Island and is a former city girl from Fall River, Massachusetts turned wife, stepmom, and high school English teacher. Each summer, she spends her time growing more fruits and vegetables than her family can eat. She writes her poetry late at night instead of sleeping.
Photography by Phillipe Martin Chatelain
I don’t want to hold your baby.
What you probably don’t know
Is that we tried,
Tried for years to have our own.
What you surely don’t know is that sometimes,
I’m almost relieved that it didn’t happen.
I wonder if I could’ve held it all together
Or if it would’ve come crashing down.
The drives to work with little to no sleep.
Keeping up with work and a baby to love
Who would deserve to come first.
I wonder if I would’ve had the ability to be a good mother,
The kind of mother a baby needs,
The kind of mother I didn’t have,
The one I never saw with my own eyes.
I’ve heard stories from friends
About their moms like me who damaged them.
Maybe it’s better this way,
But it still hurts.
It hurts me in my deepest recesses
That we couldn’t add one more to our life together.
So when you’re in the maternity ward,
Don’t be upset if I don’t visit.
I’ll say I want you to rest
And have time to bond with your new love.
And when you’re back at home
But don’t be offended if I don’t hold your baby.
I’ll be polite.
I’ll say I have a cold coming on.
Fix it, mom.
We sat outside the ice cream shop
Mom, dad, Ca, and me
Before it all changed.
It was winter
With dad wearing cut off jean shorts and sandals,
Yet I couldn’t keep up with my dripping cone.
Ice cream fingers.
I said, “Fix it, mom,”
And she did.
She licked a wide path around the top of the cone,
And she made it all better.
Her ability to fix it ended there.
She’s more the type to destroy than mend.
It wasn’t long after that dad drove away
With his shirts hanging from the hooks in the back of his car.
He’d had enough of her mistakes.
How he’d stayed as long as he did
I’ll never understand.
After those days
she never fixed anything again.
She decided that she’d had enough of raising me
and let me go.
Let me go to make my mistakes
And make them I did.
A teenager with no one to tell me no,
You shouldn’t do that.
Or no, you shouldn’t be like that.
I knew at the time that life would be different
if I still had a mom who had the ability or desire
to ever fix anything again.
But I didn’t and there I was
drowning in my blunders and missteps.
Sticky fingers and holding the napkins
all on my own.
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By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7
32 pages, published 1/15/2022