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The Mother

Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you
got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little
or with no hair,
The singers and workers that
never handled the air.

You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the
sucking-thumb Or scuttle off ghosts
that come.

You will never leave them,
controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them,
with gobbling mother-eye.

I have heard in the voices of the
wind the voices of my dim killed children.
I have contracted.

I have eased My dim dears at
the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if
I seized Your luck And your lives
from your unfinished reach,

If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and
your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves,
your tumults, your marriages, aches,
and your deaths,

If I poisoned the beginnings of your
breaths, Believe that even in my
deliberateness I was not deliberate.

Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead, You were
never made.

But that too, I am afraid, Is faulty:
oh, what shall I say, how is the
truth to be said?

You were born, you had body,
you died.
It is just that you never giggled or
planned or cried.

Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly,
and I loved, I loved you All.

Written by Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)


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