Poem-a-Day curated by Eduardo C. Corral, September 2019

The mother finds her own wild, lost beginnings deep within the body of her daughter

 after Jacqueline Rose / after Chen Chen

she fed me 
clothed me
kept me
safe albeit
in excess
five layers
in spite of 
subtropical 
winter heat
so much to
eat I needed
digestive pills
to ward off
the stomach’s 
sharp protest
how not to
utter the un- 
grateful thing: 
that I am 
irrevocably
her object

that the
poet who 
wrote this
saved my life: 
Sometimes, 
parents &
children
become
the most
common of 
strangers 
Eventually,
a street 
appears
where they 
can meet 
again

How I
wished
that street
would appear
I kept trying
to make her 
proud of my 
acumen for 
language
these words
have not
been for
nothing
I wrote
to find
the street 
where we
might meet
again & now
there is relief
guilt or blame
but they are 
nearly always 
misplaced
you are born 
into the slip-
stream of
your mother’s 
unconscious

if someone
had told her
that the last 
thing a young 
mother needs
is false decency
courage & cheer 

she might not 
have hurt us
both but what
to do with 
remorse &
love that comes 
unbidden like a 
generous rain
how to accept
her care after
the storm is there
a point at which
the mother is 
redeemed the
child forgiven
can the origin
story be re-told
transfigured into
the version where
the garden is always 
paradise & no one 
need ever fall
out of grace