Five

What do you do
when you are five years old
and your mother
shuts you away
because she can’t bear to look at you?
In your short life
she has given
no love or cuddles,
only bewildering rage and anger
no matter how hard you try to be good
it is never good enough.
Your body is small,
next to you she is very big
and when her face is in your face
shouting at you
and her hands are on your shoulders
shaking you
you fear you might die.
She shouts
I’ll shake the living daylights out of you.
Maybe one day she did
and you are no longer a real person,
only a shadow in the dark.
How do you know
if you are still alive?

Frozen in the headlights

The day darkened
as the storm drew near,
the gloom seeped into the room
where two small children played
The door began to open
and immediately
the man outside the window
put his fingers to his lips
in a hush gesture
and captured a little girl
Like a terrified animal
frozen in the glare of headlights
she stared

my heart hammered and I couldn’t move
or tear my eyes away from the window
as my mother put the light on
and left again, closing the door behind her
She didn’t notice my fear,
and I was too afraid to tell.

The child was lit up now,
exposed in the brightness
of the bulb like a
captive fish in a tank
caught and silenced.

Mother

You don’t call me any more
and grief washes over me anew,
another death among the many.
I watch you disappearing
one memory at a time
my heart breaking with each loss.
You no longer remember my childhood,
that battleground where your tongue
cut me into small pieces
until I was nothing but anger
just like you.
If you have forgotten our warring
do you still remember
making peace,
apologies and forgiveness,
the newly planted seeds of love between us,
can they still grow?
The silent creeping disease
has stolen your anger
and replaced it with
a childlike vulnerability,
you cry real tears now.
The one thing that endures and remains
is that you love me now.
I have finally let you into my heart,
please don’t let me lose that again,
we have had so little time
to be mother and daughter.