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Tears' Reasons

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  • Tears' Reasons

    Tears' Reasons

    Aged six
    “Why are you crying?”
    The nurse asked.
    “No reason to cry.
    Your tonsils are out.
    It’s over now.”
    I cried because she didn’t understand.

    Aged seven
    “Why aren’t you crying?”
    I asked myself.
    My grandmother had just died.
    My thoughts a few days earlier:
    “Would she buy me the doll?”
    I had cried at the death of every goddamned character
    In every goddamned book
    But I couldn’t cry when my grandmother died.
    I cried when Matthew Cuthbert died,
    And I cried when Anne couldn’t cry for him,
    And I cried when she finally could,
    And then I cried because I never could cry for my grandmother.

    Aged eight
    “Honey, why are you crying?”
    “This book says
    Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
    Tell me it’s lying."

    Aged nine
    “This year
    The presents will be smaller
    We didn’t have much money.”
    “Why so many tears?
    You’re crying more about presents
    Than you did when Grandma died.”
    I cried because Santa Claus was dead,
    And because you’d assumed
    So casually
    That I had heard what I asked not to hear,
    And because that mean boy in school had been right:
    Parents don’t always say the truth,
    And because if Santa Claus doesn’t exist, God probably doesn’t either
    (Or did that reason come later?)
    And because I didn’t cry when my grandmother died
    And now I was crying about presents.

    These days
    Occasionally I still
    Cry after talking to you
    Like I used to:
    First because you meant the world to me,
    Then because you didn’t,
    Then out of habit.

    Sometimes I cry for no reason.
    Then I cry some more
    Because I’m so happy when I’m happy
    And so sad when sad;
    Happiness is no small thing to misplace.

    “Why am I crying?
    No reason to cry.”
    Sometimes it’s okay
    Not to understand.
    The most you can do
    Is wait out the rain.
    “It’s over now.”
    After all,
    No reason for crying is no reason to cry.

    (Hometown: Warsaw, Poland.
    Current residency: Watertown, MA)