What I Never Was

I never was my mother          except

when I distort the truth and tell

strange tales that no one else can fit

in nor recognise nor believe.

I never will be my mother

but when I feel that vice is gripping              whispering

‘bereft of friends’

I wonder: is that an echo of her whingeing?

No reflection of my mother              except

grey-peppered hair, turgid jaw,

or does my voice harshen when I offer

praises lethally counterpointed with ‘but’?

We are strangers on drifting shores

each other’s greatest disappointment.

Yet darkness floods us both alike.

If we could mention it

there might be hope.

No Reflection

She had a way with mirrors

She tamed them with one look.

No periwinkled gape emerging, unplanned, confusing,

No fairytale abasement of princess lost and found.

She knew the score, the path, and scaling

Was her day job, to step on meek cadavers, to pursue, victorious.

Each face thought out,

Lip drawn in cupid perfection

With dervish undertones.

Eyes framed with agate offerings,

The brow? A work of art, unfurrowed and unhurried.

Regrets are someone else’s,

A sleight of mind, eclipse of hands,

And back we are, unwrinkled,

To smooth-held opinions and shifting granular sands.

Meanwhile, the portrait in the attic

Waxed crueller by the year.