When a child leaves home
Here are my boys,
in their own world
of words I do not understand.
Where I used to lead,
distanced from the world they march into.
Then the eldest carries on walking,
until he leaves home
I am left floating in rivers
There are spaces
where there used to be trainers,
The washing machine rests more
the fridge stays full.
There is an empty place at the table,
Once again, I am the last one to bed.
When a child leaves home of course we parents are
proud of them,
excited for them,
know it is the right and natural thing,
this much is spoken of,
there are words of new beginnings,
he’s off into the world.
Yet what no one speaks of is the ending
for this brother
and for me.
On this there is silence
only the moon can hear.
Yet it is visceral,
Labour is intense,
Heart contractions now
when once they were womb,
knowing that the only way out of the pain
The waters break,
sun stroked streams.
I baptise myself,
in the waterfall ice,
birthing not just he,
as a man
as a new self.
I duck myself once to release him
Twice to send him into the world well
thrice with wishes for friends and love to attend him
wherever his feet fall.
Then I float myself,
with iron cold water
into something new,
grateful to have shared this walk with him for so long.
I walk back to meet him where he has waited,
we stroll once more
past blackberries and puddles
back to the car.
No one tells you when you give birth to a baby
you give birth to yourself as a mother.
No one tells you when your child leaves homes,
that you birth them again into adulthood
and yourself something new and unknown.