Poetry: Free Mom Hugs

Past

would you have trusted me more
if I’d known about fingertip sparks
and fluttering hearts?

or if I’d really looked at
tiny pencil drawings on matchboxes and
folded paper napkins?

you’d pass notes I didn’t understand—
messages scrawled on scraps of paper
palm to palm

rainbows hung around your pretty neck;
delicate lovely things refracting light into
everything you did

you left without goodbyes—fleeing rejections 
spurred by fevered religious hate disguised
as family love

you drew naked ladies in Paris
seeing worldly wonders dreaming nightly with
fingertips stained black

floating down stone steps in tailored 
suits you charmed everyone with your
soft blue eyes

returning home sick, thick sketchbook under
heavy arms we talked about everything
but the truth

you left without me seeing you
kiss your lovers, pink-skinned blushing
on ornate bridges

or watching you dance under moonlit
skies with flowers tucked into your
fluffy blonde hair

Present

driving nowhere we sing with windows
down, wind blowing tangles into your
fluffy red hair

I sense something brewing behind quiet
lips, fingers fidget with your many
bright silver rings

with a trembling voice, you say
you like girls—scared of rejection
bare legs shake

you’ve known since kindergarten, but it
wasn’t something you wanted to explore
or talk about

honored, I listen to your deeply
held sacred truths; as you discover 
who you are

my old friend breathes words of 
comfort through me helping me ease
your coming out

grabbing soft hands tightly, I squeeze
three times letting you know my
love remains unchanged

balancing stone words we build together
walls to fight against those who
would seek destruction

inked drawings, musical explorations, the Heartstopper
you share everything with me, showing
me the way

crying at pride, past present swirl
promising to do better armed with
free mom hugs

Street Art in Sacramento, CA

In honor of Pride Month, I dedicate this poem to a dear high school friend who died of AIDS and my beautiful daughter who trusts me with her truth. I reference the show “Heartstopper” on Netflix and can’t recommend it enough for its sweet portrayal of love. Happy Pride Month!

60 thoughts on “Poetry: Free Mom Hugs

  1. Goodness those are powerful compelling verses. I missed so many signs at school and later, only realising my cruel ignorance later. To be more inquiring, to see behind guarded eyes is all we should aspire to. I didn’t lose anyone but equally I didn’t find anyone either.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. What a wonderful, heart touching poem, Britta! I felt your pride in reading every word.

    May you friend’s soul rest in everlasting peace and may you treasure uncountable moments with your daughter and be honoured with her truth!

    There is such beauty to be experienced when we open up our hearts and I’m so glad that you did.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Beautiful ❤ ❤

    It's so funny, I didn't come out until my 30's- like it's only been about 4 years- and most people weren't the least bit surprised. My BFF's reaction was basically "no shit, Sherlock". My older sister said "a lot more stuff makes a lot more sense now". Even my husband wasn't as blindsided as my parents were. They were both positively clueless and their reactions were… eh… so, as weird as it may seem to thank you, I still thank you for just accepting and loving your daughter the same as before. I'm happy for her. Wonderful you had your friend's memory and spirit there to guide you. ^^

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I am glad you have people in your life that see you and were supportive of you coming out. I’m so sorry your parents weren’t among that bunch. I know that must hurt and I wish for them to someday see how much courage it takes to step fully into yourself. I marvel daily at my daughter and how she’s able to navigate her feelings in a world that often makes her feel less than. I’m so lucky to spend my life being her mom.

      Like

      • Well, Mom just needed time to adjust, I think. I never doubted she loves me, and she makes the effort. Last conversation I had with her, she said something that I think shows she’s really been reflecting on this. My father… well, I recently made the decision that he doesn’t deserve any contact or any presence in my family’s life, and that’s probably the healthiest decision I’ll ever make. Should’ve been done years ago, really. Luckily, my kids don’t really know him at all anyway. His presence was minimal to begin with, then non-existent after I came out. All contact was with my stepmother after that, and my kids didn’t see much of her either. Mom is the grandparent my kids all think of immediately. They love her. ❤ ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow this was so touching… RIP to your dear friend. This was amazing and as someone who is queer this was beautiful to read. Happy pride month 🌈💕🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️ such great writing. We need more understanding people

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Beautiful poem about someone coming out. It’s great your daughter shared it with you. I am sorry you lost your high school friend. Keep writing and have a nice day!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Present made me cry. It took me by surprise, When I realized where the path of words was leading me I welled up with emotion and the happiest of tears appeared. Wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

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