Thank you Mommy Because when I sat On your lap and played With the rubbery ball That grew along your smooth Neck, you didn't slap My hand away, you never Got shy. And even let me Playfully finger the rough Scar that arrived in its Absence. And when I asked, "Did it hurt?" You smiled And kissed my hand, "Only a little, mi bruja chula."
Thank you Mommy Because when I brushed Your hair and counted The strands that fell onto The bathroom tile you kept The number for me. And when enough had fallen You took me shopping and let Me run through the rows of Synthetic styling of Barbie perfection That brightened my candied eyes. And later when I asked, "Why don't you wear yours?" You answered Honestly, "Because it's not me."
Thank you Mommy Because when I laid On your chest wrapping Your gold chains around My fingers, eyeing the lion Medallion throned at your throat, Polishing the pink ruby clutched In its jaws and asked, "Can I have this when you die?" Daydreaming of princess games, Your eyebrows frowned for only a Second before you kissed My forehead and said, "And Who else's would it be?"
Thank you Mommy because I remember it all, Remember how you protected me from the fall.
Xochitl-Julisa was inspired to write this poem by her mother's strength and courage, that continues to inspire her today. She would like to dedicate "Lioness" to the courage and strength of the mothers and fathers who fought so hard to stay with their children, but tragically didn't make it. She would especially like to remember Pablo Bermejo, Librada Lucero Saucedo and Elizabeth Kennedy. A form of this poem was previously published in the Pasadena City College's 2007 Inscape Magazine.