Inside my birthday card you scrawled –
buy yourself something.
The text message you sent me read –
call when you feel better.
Your voicemail said –
people take taxis after surgery all the time.
You’ll be fine.
What more do you want?
I gave you a place to live.
I put a roof over your head.
I put clothes on your back.
I put food in your stomach.
I took you on trips.
I picked up your dry cleaning.
I bought you pearls for your college graduation.
If you can’t learn to be appreciative
I won’t leave you any of my jewelry when I die.
Is that your legacy?
Did you take the time to pick a gift for me?
Did you come with me to the doctor?
Did you sit by my bedside after my surgery?
Did you hold my hand when the phone call came with the results?
Did you dry the tears on my cheeks after I lost my job?
Did you kiss my forehead as I lay sick?
Did you hug me when I cried?
Did you defend me when people spoke ill of me?
Did you come to visit when I was all alone?
Were you always so near I couldn’t tell the difference between the smell of me or of you?
Were you kind?
Original poetry & photography
by Bárbara Herrnsdorf