Motherhood Literature + Art

Reinvention by Fay Chiang

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From The Mom Egg Vol. 12 – 2014

Fay Chiang


The fall comes

The daughter leaves for Spain
with her partner
to teach English and then
travel North Africa and the
happy and healthy and young
my heart urges them: Go!
with great joy

Twenty years
surviving the breast cancer
I was so afraid would not let
me see my four year old girl
grow up and now only after
her graduation from college
do I realize how long
I have held my breath

As the eldest I took care
of my father when he had colon cancer
my brother when he had Hodgkins disease
my mother when she had a cerebral aneurism
and their passing

I took care of my younger sister
when she had a heart attack and stroke—
nursing her back to recovery

So many of my friends with
HIV/AIDS and many forms of cancer
whose hands I held during
their last fading breaths,
cremations and burials,
memorial services—–
their lives and friendships
etched in my heart and soul

I think of the many young people at risk
I’ve nurtured these past four decades
hoping our time together
has put them on surer footing
in their journeys for happier
and fruitful lives

Community groups and
organizations I’ve worked with
as we forced the issues of
representation and identity
social change and social justice
by creating art and culture
by and with those
whose voices had too
long been silenced—-
silent no more

Yes, these were my first six decades and one.

II. Now
is a time for reinvention
even as the physical self is changing:
a heavy fatigue
failing eyesight
hearing dim from too many rock concerts
creaky joints and softening bone

III. Still
the heart is strong and passionate
there is the need for purpose and to work for good
the need for laughter with friends and family young and old
the need to love and be loved
the need to dance and sing
the need to write and paint
the need to learn and grow
the need to hike the highest peaks and let the spirit soar
the need to change

this is the time for reinvention
in the deep snows of winter;
let’s see what comes in spring.


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