Mother and Daughter

The mother says, I am afraid.
The daughter says, I am afraid.
 
The mother says, My feet are cold.
The daughter says, My feet are cold.
 
The mother says, The car is sinking.
The daughter says Yes, the car is sinking.
 
The mother says, The water is heavy,
and the daughter says, The water is very heavy.
 
The mother says, I am too young for this.
The daughter says, I want to grow old.
 
The mother says, I can see the sky,
and the daughter says, I can also see the sky.
 
How about the moon, the mother says,
and the daughter says, I can see the moon.
 
What else hurts you, the mother says
and the daughter says, What about you.
 
I forgot to tell your father something,
the mother says and the daughter says,
I forgot to tell my father something.
 
The mother says, I do not want to die.
I do not want to die, the daughter says.
 
I wanted to be a good mother, the mother says.
Sometimes you weren’t, the daughter says.
 
Sometimes you weren’t a good daughter either, the mother says
and the daughter says, I wanted to be good.
 
I can hear my heart, she says.
I can hear my heart, she says.
 
I wish I loved Jesus, she says and she says,
I wish I loved Jesus.
 
She says, The thud is unbearable.
She says, The thud is unbearable.
 
What do you mean you wish
you loved Jesus, she says
and she says, The water is dark.
 
My clothes are getting heavier, she says.
Heavier, she says, and heavier.
 
She says, The water is up to my chin now, and she says,
It is up to my chin too.
 
What if this is the last thing I say to you, she says
and she says, What if this is the last thing I say to you.
 
She says, I cannot hold on much longer.
Please, she says, hold on longer.
 
The water is at my mouth, she says,
and she says, Even if it is at your mouth.

Hayan Charara, "Mother and Daughter" from Something Sinister.  Copyright © 2016 by Hayan Charara.  Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Source: Something Sinister (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016)
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