— adjective

1. not easily or readily done; requiring much labor, skill, or planning to be performed successfully; hard

I labored with you
for over fourteen hours.
Stalling for hours
at four centimeters.
I have a difficult time being out of control.
2. hard to understand or solve
Your grandfather took too many pills
and died.
You never met him.
But we knew we could no longer ignore
your rage.
We needed to understand.
An accurate diagnosis was difficult.
The therapist said it was a mood disorder.
Two psychiatrists agreed.
We prepared ourselves for that future
while we waited the long three months
for the appointment with the third doctor.
She’s not bipolar,
he said.
ADHD looks different in girls.
3. hard to deal with or get on with
For the first three years of your life
your father and I were only married
because we were married.
We couldn’t get on with each other.
I was drowning.
He was too.
But neither of us knew
how to reach the other.
Our voices locked
inside our gendered roles,
the ache difficult to articulate,
more difficult still to bear.
4. hard to please or satisfy
Your grandfather was a hard man to please.
He was a broken man
who tried to break others,
like his father before him.
Trying to fill their wounds
by stealing from the next generation.
Never satisfied.

And for years
it was difficult to tell
if I was wounding you as well.
5. hard to persuade or induce; stubborn
I want to raise a stubborn daughter.
I want the world
to be powerless
persuade her
away from herself.
May she know the power
of being
a difficult woman.