Poem: Too Much, Too Little

By: Kimberly Potter Kendrick

too_small_too_big

Too much, too little
Caught in a crack
Tense muscles
The mother cannot relax
The child, the child, the child

Struggling with essentials
Rent, water, power, food, gas
If only it stopped there
Car insurance, car payment, medical expenses
Insufficient funds week to week

No leeway for desires; no cable or internet
Prioritize; rent or electricity
Gas tank on empty
A meager amount for food

Drowsy eyes, but stomach growls; futile attempts at sleep
Wake up hungry
The cabinet is bare
Tears begin to fall in a gentle stream until the mother uncontrollably weeps
Not for herself
The child, the child, the child

This cannot possibly be the intention of life
In the bank account, one dollar remains
Christmas is around the corner
No money for a single present
The child, the child, the child

Too proud to ask for help
Too proud to make them aware of her desperation
Lacking concern for herself
The child, the child, the child

They say you shouldn’t have relocated
The mother retorts, “I stayed too long.”
Keeping the home the child knew
Keeping the child in the familiar school
His income walked away with him
Do they not comprehend?
No room for splurges
No welfare for them
Too much, too little
Caught in the crack

The mother is ill
Another appointment, another bill
Another surgery, another bill
Another test, another bill
Bill upon bill upon bill

On her knees, bowing her head, the mother’s pleading prayers
Assistance not received
A conflicted decision
Don’t do it!
What alternative existed?
Intuitively, the mother becomes cognizant; It’s time
A season of preservation

Boxes packed
Rented truck loaded
Without further hesitation; the mother, the child begin a fresh chapter

Still struggling
Still no food
Her decision the mother questions
Lingering, the child was given a fighting chance
Staying so long the mother dug a deep, dark financial hole
Assuring herself the goal worthy
The child, the child, the child

Belief that shovels of soil will gradually plug the hole
An unfathomable hole; one shovel in, one shovel out
A few dollars in, a few dollars out
Gaining strides, the mother is not
No room to breathe
She wonders what kind of mother is she
Filled with guilt
Filled with shame
Once again, the mother’s eyes dampen
The child, the child, the child

Grateful the mother
Grateful a decent home
Grateful for the occasions family sends a little money
Grateful for the glimpses of the child dancing in front of a mirror
The mother smiles

Complain the child does not
His shoes falling apart, two sizes too small
His clothes tattered with rips and stains
No fussing when the milk jug is empty
He understands no holiday dinner
No expectation of presents on Christmas morn
The child is tough; becoming a young man
The mother still apprehensive
The child, the child, the child

The hole remains hollow
The mother lies awake this night
No resolution in view
The mother filled with abundant faith
The mother hopeful
The mother confident in her decision
She prays to give thanks
She prays for blessings
Anticipation for tomorrow

The child loves his mother
The child recognizes the mother’s unconditional love
Anxious he is not
His faith is in his mother

Too much, too little
Caught in the crack
Overwhelmed
Hands tied
The child, the child, the child

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