Finding My Voice by Barbara Moore

I had had an awful time
at another birthday party
for a neighborhood kid
wishing the whole time
I was home in my room
on my bed reading

The cake had been too sweet
and not even chocolate
and there was no milk
only warm soda pop
high sugar rush
ending in headache

My mother came to pick me up
that’s why I had to be there
so she could come too
showing off her figure
in her new striped dress
fitted at the waist

We stood in the doorway
as I thanked the birthday girl
for the good time I hadn’t had.
My mother beamed with pride
at the memorized lines
she had fed me

I drew in my deepest breath
sensing the power of my next words
but saying them anyway
fighting for my own voice
in what, up to this point,
had been my mother’s song

In my clear lilting child voice
born of icy resentment
I added to my thank you
to the birthday girl
but really at my mother
“I mind my manners, don’t I?"






More Poetry by Barbara Moore