Child, your mother’s hair unwashed for a week
tangles limply on the pillow.
Flattened by overuse, you prop her up, she slips back down.
There is no justice.
You bring in dandelions she has no puff to blow.
She swallows watery gruel and superlatives
with equal indifference,
Spooned out at intervals,
when you remember she is human too.
There is no medicine
if oil tars feathers
and causes the family to mat and separate.
This is an older poem, which I have already shared on Cowbird, the storytelling website with which I am currently obsessed (I try to limit my time on it, but always end up reading ‘just one more story’). I remembered it and wanted to add it here after reading the wonderful and funny poem ‘Nursery Crimes’ by DP Bowman.
Twinkle twinkle little star
What a bore you know you are!
How the trill of sing-song rhymes,
high-voice patience, hurried smiles
breaks the wit that I had borne.
Salt in wound I stand forlorn.
Yet baa baa black sheep
Have you ever lived
‘til childish breath rests on your cheek?
Half-chewed toys brought to your bed,
wilted flowers, kisses wet.
Salted lashes fluttering now.
Sleepy smiles and furrowed brow.