HER HISTORY: MOTHER

 

 

Here is a poem about a strange character who appears in my imagination now and again.  

 

 

I was conceived at the crossing
where three ways meet.
My father was a shadow
cast by the moon.

The midwife who tended my mother
gave her an iron key to keep,
and I keep it still.  My mother
was small and often afraid.

She baked bread and pies
in the king’s kitchen;
we slept by the fire,
curled on the hearth.

My mother’s hair was dirty
and long, her eyes the color of cinders.
Her skin was white
and streaked with ash, her hands

were red and hard.
She taught me nothing
but weariness and pain.
I never loved her;  I never

blamed her.  When she died
they buried her deep in the wood
and covered her grave with stones.
Not even a sparrow sang a psalm.

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