Anne Fricke

Kintsugi, a poem

By Anne Fricke

Japanese art form using gold, silver or bronze to join broken pieces of pottery; treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise 

Like veterans home from a brutal war 
we seek each other out,
because ours is a truth 
that few understand; 
what it feels like to hear that your child is broken,
to hold them and feel a life force so weak 
you fear their death, sit in a sterilized room 
with a stranger telling you who your child will be 
based on one tiny, miniscule deletion of their DNA.
Then to be cast adrift on a turbulent sea of doubt and fear,
know that you must hoist the sails, guide this vessel home 
despite your ignorance of the prevailing winds. 

We have lived through the battle
of having our child’s future shattered 
in that one blazing moment of diagnosis.
Our shock-filled eyes slowly registering 
the shimmering glass-like fragments
scattered about our feet,
tears mixing with blood
seeping from wounds suffered in the explosion, 
Wounds becoming scars,
there to remind us always of this moment. 

We have lived through the aftermath.
The dawning realization of the destruction at our feet, 
the undeniable knowledge that it is now our job 
to pick up the pieces one-by-one,
fit them imperfectly back together.
Bind them with gold and glue,
determination, tears and small triumphs,
So that our child’s future may now be 
a work of art, a sculpture of love 
to show them they have a place in this world. 

As my daughter and I walk these halls in the myriad 
of doctors and specialists, I see 
new parents with their babies,
the shock, the sorrow, the worry 
etched deep into the lines of their faces
as we step carefully amongst the broken shards 
of their child’s future. 
I want to tell them of my daughter,
and her life,
the way the sunlight is refracted so beautifully
off the pieces we have bound together.
There are few words 
for that anxiety, that grief,
few words that do not sound empty; 

So instead I smile, let my soulful daughter 
go to them and look upon their baby
with the sincere, open delight
that brings people to love her so easily.

I smile and hope they see what I see, 
the beauty of the perfect imperfections 
of someone who was never, 
never truly broken. 

About the Author

Anne is the founder of BREATHE and mother to three daughters, one of whom has Prader-Willi Syndrome. She is a performance and published poet who has written several poems on her experience raising a daughter with special needs. Kintsugi is the first of these poems. 
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