Poetry: When I Suffer by Rebecca Lyons

When I was seven months old,
I was left by my adoptive mother–
who really had to pee
but was so self-conscious
about human proximity

when she needed to relieve herself
that she once held it thirty-seven-and-a-half hours
on a hike in the Smoky Mountains
because she was also afraid of bears
and didn’t want to walk into any dens–

in the watchful eye of a friendly old lady walking her cocked-head
because my mom also had an insane sense
of hope in human nature
that there was enough good in everyone that,
if just given the opportunity, would meet its true stature-

who, unbeknownst to her new friend, and probably herself,
had dementia and soon forgot her newly acquired human responsibility,
only to be replaced by a man whose long-gone
wife had desperately wanted a child of her own, so he took
this opportunity to begin snatching me, hold on,

he quickly released the hold on my arm
when he saw my brother’s hold on my other arm,
not to mention the look of pure awe
that befell our now forever-scared-baby-faces
renew his briefly-lost-ability to think of consequences’ law.

For it was then that we both realized everyone in the world–
after generations of subconscious succumbsion
to the belief that the tougher
survived and “tougher” entailed hurting others–
would only suffer to see us suffer.

Rebecca Lyons is a Corpus Christi native and is currently teaching middle and high school English. She also works as the volunteer coordinator for the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation and for a professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. When she’s not doing homework for grad school or grading papers, she likes to promote her own business, a vegan and gluten free bakery called Better Baking Becca. In her free time, she watches her dogs play, attends too many meetings, and attempts to write while wishing she wasn’t thinking about all of the things that need fixing in the world.

When I Suffer was originally published in Issue One of Strike Magazine.


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