Mother's Prayers By Patrick Roche Poem by Scott Sims

Mother's Prayers By Patrick Roche

In which my mother's prayers teach me about joy
You know I have become acutely familiar
With the peculiarities of my local CVS.
I wait in line at the pharmacy counter
To pick up the refill to my anti-depressants
And prominently placed right next to the counter
Is a 5 foot display of religious books promising,
"A Happy Fulfilled Life Through Prayer"
And I should have known.
I should have known my mother
Would follow me in here like that.
The pharmacist hands me the prescription
And asks if I have any questions
So i ask her what does god look like?
And she says I'm sorry sir. I'm just here to
Explain the medication.
And I have never been more certain that God
Looks like these pills.
A daily communion I place on my tongue.
Ingesting salvation, something that I've tried to rid myself of
But which keeps coming back.
Something that my mother has shamed me for abandoning.
You know every christmas, my mother
Asks me to join her at church.
"It doesn't even have to be our church.
We can try a new one like Lutherin or a temple."
"Mom I don't think they have christmas mass at a synagog."
"Well we can try."
This past fall, I stopped taking my medicine.
Shame can be a funny kind of thief.
Every morning I would swallow the pills
But mostly just feel them.
A reminder of how far from healthy I still was.
And I know I shouldn't be ashamed of depression
But there we were: Me, the shame, the pills, God maybe
And wouldn't it just be easier to just forget all of those,
Flush them away.
When I became suicidal again, I got a new therapist, got back on the pills
And my mother found out about the months off meds and she cried
And I took a prime position in her prayers once again.
Her supernatural wish for me
To be happy against all logic.
And isn't that just like prayer?
Holding a torch into the unknown,
Defying the brain in a kind of quest for joy,
For some sense of relief.
And isn't that just like these pills.
Defying the brain in a quest for joy,
For some kind of joy after death.
I am trying to understand faith
But I'm scared of what that means.
Faith as a calm after pain
Which is my hope when taking these pills.
So maybe faith is a kind of happiness.
Faith as running into the unknown but believing
That that unknown will be better and warmer.
But wasn't that also my hope when I wanted to kill myself.
So I'm scared that that too is just like a prayer, or just like God.
To be an uncertain relief under a specter of death.
My mother reveals that she's worried that if I don't go to church anymore,
I won't pay for her when she's old or sick
As she has done for me and all of my sick,
As she does for her own mother whose brain betrays her more each day.
I know my mother prays every night and reminds me to take my medicine.
All she can do in order to try and keep me at bay,
Whatever fresh hellhounds my brain today.
Today, I took my antidepressants
I haven't missed a day since starting them back up.
I do not understand prayer yet.
But I think I am starting to understand my mom
And that is a miracle.

Friday, November 1, 2019
Topic(s) of this poem: depression
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