What Your Mother Didn’t Teach You: a poem

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What Your Mother Didn’t Teach You: a poem
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Illustrated by EMILY MIYAOKA

You were born on the cusp of a star sign, and
your mother always told you to help others before yourself.

 When you grasped at the last slice of cake,
with icing trapped beneath your dirty fingernails,
your mother looked at you with dagger eyes and said,
‘Don’t be so selfish.’
You wanted to fill yourself with sugar, but
you didn’t want to be selfish.

Years passed, but the stars have stayed the same.
You still want things, want things like a child does,
but you don’t want to be selfish.

One day you are sitting on a bed and letting other people
place their bloody, tear stained hearts into your hands,
even when your fingers are sprained and splintered.
But don’t you know that
your fingers were made to hold your own heart,
and that nobody else will know how to hold it
so that the arteries don’t burst?

Don’t you know that it is okay to fight for yourself?
And patriotism can exist for a land where the
national anthem is your own voice?
The red on your cheeks is war paint.
Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s selfish.

You were born on the cusp of a star sign, and
your mother always told you to help others before yourself,
but that doesn’t really make sense, because
nobody could ever care for you the way that you can.

By STACEY YU
Staff Writer

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