It’s Not Okay

Comments (0) Issue 1, Poetry, Writing

By Deenah Jacques


She screams, her throat turns ripe and red

her mother’s body lowered into ground.

A woman rushes to her,

“It’s okay, It’s okay” grasping shoulders, her

words flocking in the air, like dazed starlings.


I look over to this scene

from a distance

dirt shuffling around feet, flowers

placed on a coffin

teetering on the harness

that squared hole so perfectly crafted for her.


My mom and I share a look of contempt

hands grazing one another

tears welling down

identical pairs of eyes.


Her mother will never

see her walk the aisle,

put on her dress,

cry as her baby leaves the nest, cradling her own.


She will never know

grand children or great-grandchildren

never feel her mother’s hand

combing through her hair

never hear her melodic voice

smell the spices, cooking in the kitchen,

watch rice and beans boiling, smoke flowing through the rooftop.

taste the shredded coconut and caramel cookies,

so often made on a sunny day

with a firm kiss planted on her cheek.


I wish for the girl who cries,

who feels feel the pain and anguish that grief bestows on us

like a blanket given to a sleepy child.

Think back on the times that you spent with her

big smiles bouncing off one another,

crying over past memories

and the ones that will never come.

The hopes that burst out of her

irradiated you with blessings

bestowed on you like a nicely-wrapped gift.


Know that she is watching over you.


I hope you always feel

the warmth you shared from her motherly embrace

hear her words echo through your tiniest membranes

smell that strong, never-ending aroma of lilacs

that followed her every step like a teetering toddler.

Staring at this girl, crying at her mother’s funeral,

I imagine my life without a comforting smile,

hearty laughs, and gentle strokes of care.

As I look at my own mother,

hands clenching one another,

I whisper,

“It’s not okay.”

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