For Mom

Today was my Mother's birthday. She requested a poem.

Mom, this is for you:

I remember when you said
(and you said this over and over)
that no matter what
you would always love me.
No matter what.
Those were your words,
I remember this clearly.
Though I didn't then understand
the risk you were taking--
one still outstanding--
in the burden of that unconditionality.
I feel the weight of those words
more fully now.
For those were the words
by which I came to understand
what it means to love.
For I can see clearly now
as I follow the thread and memories
that every love in my life
has been an expression,
a heartbeat,
a child
of yours.

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