Insistent by Keana Labra

My mother asks me about my writing
I open my mouth then pause
until I recall the price at stake
and the prospect of victory

flattened by what’s masked as support
I deflate myself at any opportunity.

My mother is excited to teach me,
to mold me in her image
though my face is neither hers nor my father’s
and she repeats, “are you still listening,”
as she urges me to defeat my saboteur

I cannot erase her voice, now an echo
in the cavernous ruin of my mind.

If I write any more than I did,
I wonder, what did I forget to say?
I sing in my head, the backdrop, the clouds
and I wish for nothing more than inner peace.

Time springs forward and
I follow obediently, yet not in the steps
of my choice.

She does not allow me to detour
Responsibility never rests and
I am her protégé,

slowly becoming less
as the threads begin to fray.

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