I sat and watched my mother cry, and said,
"These arms are mine. You gave them to me.
You cannot have them back."
6 April 1991
The last mental health professional I went to once asked me the classic (or is it clichéd?), “Tell me about your mother,” to which I replied, “I’ll tell you about my dad because you need to understand my dad and my relationship with my dad before you’ll understand me and my mum.” I don’t think she was very pleased; she didn’t like when I didn’t play ball. My dad was a bully. He never hit my mum, not once, but he belittled her and never worried about whether the kids were within earshot or not. So we took our cue from him and looked down on her. And it only got worse when I realised just how much cleverer than her I was.
This is one of only two poems I wrote about my mum. The other is ‘Making Do’ (#934) which you can read at the end of my post Richard Brautigan, my mum and I if you’re interested.