The Stories I'll Tell

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The Stories I'll Tell

A poem by Adrian Patenaude


This story is for Esther or Chloe or Faye.
This tale is for Oliver or Jasper or Mark.
I have never met you, yet I live for you, my children.
I live in retrospect, crafting the stories I will one day tell you,
that you will one day weave into your personal narrative.

Will this story of mine be one you repeat with pleasure or shame?
Will you whisper it to your children when I’m gone or have forgotten?
Or will it grow dusty like a faded album in the dingy attic of memory?

I journal, making meticulous notes for an imaginary memoir.
I collect sensations like ticket stubs and pressed petals.
Every detail is preserved for these time capsule stories.

I am still sketching out the protagonist for this story,
hoping she’s embarked on nothing less than a Hero’s Journey.
Am I living with courage and faithfulness and compassion?
Or do I wait, paralyzed, for some other hero to come along?
May you build on your mother’s wisdom as I have built on mine.

I look for adventure – may my story be a page-turner.
I look for romance – I miss a man I have yet to meet.
I look for drama – tales of risk and sacrifice and humility.

I live that you, my son, may learn to love women who walk boldly.
I live that you, my daughter, may learn that confidence is gorgeous.
I live that you, my children, will know that I too am full
of soaring ambitions, fragile desires and crippling insecurities.

I live for you, that you may tell a better story than my own.