Your Mother Yourself
Tue, 25 Feb 2014
You ring the doorbell three times;
finally she opens it. Opposite,
in the bathroom, you notice water
still in the tub from the night before.
Choose not to mention it, nor indeed
the urine stains on the rug, nor
that her bed is still unmade.
You, and things important to you,
have become inconsequential
to your mother, who makes no such
judgements or assumptions on
your life...not anymore.
She says she is going to read,
do the crossword, perhaps...take
a nap, after – asks if you mind.
You tell her, no...go ahead, you’ll
put the kettle on. Instead, wander
through the house – once so familiar
feels alien, now.
Your old room – labelled, Guest Room;
empty shelves, gathering dust. Gone
The Secret Garden, Under Plum Lake –
places you’d escaped to
in your childhood.
Blue, flocked pansies - walls, closing in
on you where your posters were;
Broken Glass, Flash-dance
and Dirty Dancing. Tallboy drawers
empty – reeking mothballs once full
of your tights, first-bras, and panties
perfumed with sachets from inserts
Every trace of you is gone – even
the picture over the mantelpiece;
the one you’d painted for your exam,
the one your dad once said was better
than anything by Degas or even Monet
and more precious to him, by a mile.
That was all you’d ever wanted
from her; the unconditional love
he’d given to you as a child, and
he’d gone, much too soon.
The day not far away you would,
have to broach the subject of a home
with her...sheltered housing, if she’d prefer.
She couldn’t live with you; it would be out
of the question, and you feel sorry for her,
but only to a degree; that remove