Looking Back

My first time ever
seated next to my mother
in a movie theater, just
a skinny four year old girl
practically folded up in half
by a large padded chair
whose seat won’t stay down,
bursting with anticipation
to see Disney’s Bambi.

Enthralled with so much color,
motion,  music, songs and fun
characters, I am wholly lost
in a new world of animated
reality when suddenly
Bambi’s mother looks up,
alarmed,  from eating
a new clump of spring grass
growing in the snow.

My heart leaps
with worry.
She tells him
to run
for the thicket,
to seek safety where
she has always
kept him warm
next to her.

She follows behind,
tells him to run faster,
not to look back,
don’t ever look back.

The gun shot
hits my belly too.

My stomach twists
as he cries out
for his mother,
pleading for her.
I know in my heart
she is lost forever,
sacrificed for him.

I sob as my mother
reaches out to me,
telling me not to look.
I bury my face
inside her hug,
knowing Bambi
is cold and alone
with no mother
at all.

She took me home
before the end.
I could not bear to watch
the rest of the movie
for years.
His cries
still echo
in my ears.

Now, my children are grown,
my mother is gone from this earth,
my thicket emptying,
my heart full,
my stomach stronger,
I even keep the seat from folding
me up in a movie theater.

I now can look back
and weep
once more.

3 thoughts on “Looking Back

  1. Emily,

    Your poem hit home. Our love of animals is shared. We are undergoing an unending litany of horrible news related to our Jack Russell. She is hospitalized with pancreatitis, she died Saturday night but was brought back to this world. Her hind leg is horribly swollen but she is finally responding to treatment. I miss my buddy on my lap as I read the morning paper, I miss her supervision as I work in the yard, I miss her outrage as a passerby dares to venture into her territory, I miss her unending devotion.

    Ray

    Like

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