Fandom: Original Fiction (Poetry)
Summary: I will come back, she said.
Author's Notes: For the writerverse prompt of "Waiting Here."
I will come back, she said,
a story told so many years ago
that only the words—the helpless ache—remain.
The memory of her face is gone.
There was work (or hope), she said,
there beyond the sea, or perhaps
it was simply far enough away
from the responsibilities of caring for a child.
(I waited by the shore,
at sunrise, noon, and nightfall,
searching for the hint of hull or sail
that might at last proclaim your return).
A child so loved would never be left.
Those were the words of the village, once,
until so long had passed that they knew
(they all knew while I denied) the hollow truth:
I was too burdensome or ordinary
to sustain my mother's love.
The cold sea laps along the shore—
the tides turn my heart— and I wonder,
who am I to believe the impossible
after all this time? Why am I here?
In my dreams, I still hear her songs
at the cradle, still imagine her holding me
high against the sky, floating on a peal
of sun-bright laughter (whose, I do not know).
I chase those feelings to the water's edge,
always hoping something might have changed.
I never wished ill upon her, but at times
I invented injuries or sickness
that might have kept her away so long.
Mere indifference was far too cruel to consider.
The seasons shift, the cycles of the moon
become my own, and I am a woman
scarcely younger than when my mother left.
Still, she has not returned.
Here, in the dark, I raise the lantern
and search the patterned waves.
So many years, and yet (and yet)
I wait. There is only one path home.
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