What My Mother Told Me

by Sharmila Choudhury

When I was thirteen in seventh grade

Finishing my evening bath

My mother combed my hair and

Told me I was far too naive—

I should wear my heart in a pocket rather

Than on my sleeve. I suppose she

Read in a book somewhere, on a torn,

Crumpled page of what to tell

Your daughter when she reached

A certain age. I didn’t give

What she said

Much thought.


It wasn’t until winter, I turned twenty

I realized what she said was truth.


The sound of your voice,

An opium easing my troubles.

Taunting me in my restless sleep.

So I watched, helplessly, as you

Descend into a state of ennui with

The mere thought of loving me.