Mom, Dad, I Hope You're Listening

I watched it before

I didn’t speak

You let it happen to me

I couldn’t speak

I couldn’t stand up for myself

The taste of being ignored

Behind a locked door

Was an abuse that became too familiar

 

But now she’s losing herself

So I spoke, no,

I screamed, until my lungs were on fire

Just to get your attention

Before the bad got worse

And the worst got disguised as feeling just fine

 

Pills don’t fix everything,

I suppose it’s a start

There’s a lot more required

From the dark depths of your heart

 

“Oh, she’ll be okay,

what teenager isn’t depressed today?”

Oh and my favorite

“Go to God and just pray”

As a parent, that’s not what you say

When your child’s in dismay

You don’t send them away

With a knot in their hearts

You’re telling them you don’t care

You can’t handle their burdens,

You won’t stop to hear it

I don’t have time for you

But try the door of the holy spirit

 

I’m sorry if these conditions inconvenience you

Maybe if it was a bullet wound or the deadly kiss of cancer

You’d be more desperate for an answer

If the pain was something you could visualize

Well I’ve seen her tears,

I’ve felt her shake beneath my limbs

You want someone to blame,

Stirring up acts of revenge

On some high school bitches, her so-called “friends”

Grow the fuck up and be the adult

One good day won’t make up for your constant default

You want someone to blame, the irony of hypocrisy makes me sick

I never hear you apologize without it followed by

An excuse to justify your inexcusable alliby.

 

The bad begins to get worse,

You argue and you curse,

My poor little sister stuck to her seat,

Smack dab in the middle,

Of the dinner table

I used to be jealous of her athletic skill set

My parents see right through the glass of my interests

But being the shining star,

She was doing me a favor

I would have bursted on the walls

If I was under so much pressure

 

“Be a leader.

Take control.

Talk to coach.

Speak Up.

Stop making excuses and just do it!

Do you want to captain this team next year?

Prove it!

Run faster.

Push harder.”

 

The pills aren’t working

I can see her shutting down

Staring at her own reflection in her silverware

And what happens when I’m not there?

She looks up to meet my stare

And it’s just an empty chair

While you’re shouting and deciphering her life,

She has no idea you even care

I’m a hundred miles away at least,

Guilt will devour me like an evanescent beast

Unless, you’re ready to listen

 

You should have seen the fear flood your eyes

When she considered giving up,

Running for sport no longer seemed satisfying.

As you put it,

She was throwing away “the greatest gift she had to offer”

Really?

The greatest gift she has to offer

 

What about her God-given voice,

Her passion to explore every crevice of music?

The poetry you don’t give more than a glance,

Reading each word once because you have work

To get done

 

The joy she finds in adventure and antiques,

The beauty of photography she finds in the grimy streets, the grayest settings

She packs me a lunch every day, alongside her own,

Even when I tell her no, she knows I lack the motivation to eat,

Her compassion to complete strangers is the example

Of what a big sister should be

I must’ve failed,

She was my role model,

Guidance and guts and all

She’s a runner, a fast one too

But her heart’s the strongest muscle in her body

 

All of that pressure

Is soaking up the glory of the race

She tries to get a word in

But your voices bury her,

Bury her in self doubt

It’s a deep hole, a deep deep hole

Almost impossible to climb out of

I’ve been,

sinking in the depths of my sin,

even now and again, my foot gets caught in the quicksand

 

It’s never over when you expect it to be,

You have to listen,

I’m entrusting you

with the greatest gift you ever gave me.

This poem is about: 
My family

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