Tina (Mother)

My mom is a thousand ticking bombs

Wrapped recklessly

In coarse,


South pacific skin.

Pervaded by the thick stench of marlboro reds,

And gas station perfume.

I have never seen anybody,

Express anger,

So religiously,

That you’d think it was wrong to be happy.

My mother,

Is a force to be reckoned with.

And living with her is a constant gamble.

Drowning in a puddle of sweat because you never know when

The time bombs run out of time.

I can sense when she’s coming around the corner,

I feel the desolation getting closer-

I know the script,

I know where to hide.

But hiding only makes things worse

Because I know she sees me.

And just imagine how miserable your life becomes,

When you lose the right to be invisible.

I can’t talk to her,

I can’t joke around with her,

Saying I love you to each other begins with hesitation.

The message here is,

My mom is not a home.

And I wish she was.

Who took your smile, teine Samoa?

Who took your softness?

Which one of the disgusting men from your past

Convinced you that brown girls can’t be happy?

I know I don’t live up to as many of the dreams that you had for me.

But I do know that I’m all you need to remind you

That you’ve come so far-

And just that alone is something to smile about.

Just that alone is proof that you deserve to heal.

I want you to know,

That when you’re beating me-

I can see just how scared you are.

I can see just how messy, and shaky,

And how absolutely human you are.

I can see how absolutely human the ticking time bombs are.

If you would ever let me hug you-

Please know that it isn’t just me,

But I’m bringing all of our ancestors to embrace you.

I want to move out and start my life already-

But I can’t help thinking

That I’ve left love ungiven

“I love you’s” unsaid

Hugs unhugged

And smiles unsmiled.

The torment you endured to ensure

That the family lived as comfortable as we could

Is something that I cannot undo.

But if you would allow my siblings and I

To openly love you,

I think we could do a pretty good job.


This poem is about: 
My family


Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741