Sunday, March 14, 2010

The things I am afraid of

My mother
was sick.
She was always sick
she ended sick – a skeletal figure in a nursing home bed
she weighed as much as a ten year old child, her flesh hung loosely
slipping and detached from the bone
she was withering, evaporating, disappearing

Closed casket

She may have been born sick
I don’t know
but by the time I knew her she was sick
she used to flip
she used to be another woman, sometimes. Only sometimes.
When she was angry, she was not my mother
she was evil and hateful, in a way that was uncontrolled.
She was spiteful. Showed favoritism. And my brother got it the worst.

She used to hurt my father
it was clear she hated him, sometimes
from behind a bedroom door we heard violence
I don’t know who was hurting who, but I’m almost sure he was restraining her.
He’d walk out crying, defeated, Bible in hand
“I’m going for a walk,” he’d tell us. He was going to talk to Jesus about the crazy
wife He gave him

She used to stand by the window
the sun warming the tones of her face
she was talking, out loud and under her breath
discussing. Her eyes expressive, her brow dancing up and down
do not disturb her. She wouldn’t hear you anyway if you called her while she and she
were discussing.
So when you saw her by the window, you let her be.

My mother was a beautiful and epic catastrophe
She was volcanic : erupting then cool
but in her sanity she loved immensely.

I am afraid to be like her
I’m afraid that if my thoughts are not like yours then they are like hers
I’m afraid to die the withering body
who left a husband and children who are yet too afraid of her, to ever completely love her back.


  1. I particularly love this poem because your writing seems scenic. As if in every paragraph you write from behind the door or in a seat looking at the action. Its short and potent. I think it is a wonderful poem.

    P.S. I'm sure the woman you grow to be will be marvelous.

  2. thanks z. green. much appreciated, and p.s. i hope you're right


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