My mothers tone of voice was one that I recognised. When she spoke like this you knew not to talk back. I sat emotionless in my armchair, my arms folded lightly across my chest so I could quickly cover my face if needed be. I was a good child - I always did well in school, I did my chores and was obedient and well mannered and for that my father was grateful but it was never good enough for my mama.
I had taken just about enough of her incessant screeching that day and I looked up at her with dark-ringed moody eyes. She raised her hand high above her head and it came down hard towards my cheeks. My angry fists shot up and caught her wrists and she choked back a shout. She glared at me and I felt her begin to tremble viciously beneath my tight grip. However I was stronger than Mama.
I pushed her heavy body away from me onto the hard, tiled floor and glowered at her. I turned on my heels and as I reached the front door of my house I turned and said "Fuck you "
She Will Sleep - Chapter 2II
She has hands of ivory crossed on her chest
in that wooden casket that you built from scratch.
She asked you to build it,
to carve it from the trees
that you used to swing on in the woods
when you first fell in love
ten long summers ago.
You put your soul into that box
knowing her body would be there soon
so you could keep her company.
She came into your workshop,
her I.V. tugged behind her in graceful, artist's hands.
A smile spread across those chapped lips
That smile that is echoed in your child's.
She wanted to try it for size,
To see if it would be snug enough,
To see if she looked good in it.
You let her, but walked outside the door,
Afraid to look and see the thing
That was already too close for comfort.
Your little one, the one who looks so like her
She learnt to walk beside her.
She has eyes that shine just like hers did.
She has the same concentrating frown that she did.
This little child, she is her mothers double
that you will cherish forever.
Those hands of ivor
She Will Sleep - Chapter II
She was ill, the doctors told you.
Your arms tightened around her slender body
As she slept beside you that night
And you cried into her ebony hair.
She smelt like cinnamon that night
You can still smell it sometimes when you sleep.
Your baby was restless in her cot
Her little fists as tight as sailor's knots
Like she knew there was something wrong.
Your wife was restless too and you wondered
If her dreams concerned the hospital,
The gurneys, the machines.
She squeezed your hand
When they took her blood,
The pain visible in her misty, jade-coloured eyes.
You felt it when they drew the needle out
And watched her turn a shade of grey
When her clammy head flopped back on the pillow.
When you took her home
Like a broken doll you couldn't fix,
She wrote letters to her friends who would miss her.
Your wife kissed your baby goodbye
And held her in her arms.
She sang lullabies in the nursery
And you cried on her side of your bed.
Your time was ticking out
Like the clock on the bedsid