When my mother is gone,what nation will hold me?
An entire people could not
console the loss. I will be
a shivering bird, scant nest
built on a low branch. Like
any other homeless woman
turned feathered and animal.
I cannot think of a day of my existence when I wasn't worried about my mother perishing from this earth.
I've said this on the blog somewhere before, but there's something that happens to a child the first time they see their parent falter, succumb, or suffer in some extreme, unfair, serious way. The earlier this happens, I believe the more affecting the event is. If witnessing your parent's weakness in the face of the world's cruelty happens early on, and then repeatedly, I believe the child develops a complex, deep, heightened sense of anxiety, worry, trauma, fear.
Also, genetics are at hand. (That picture isn't pretty for me either.)
Also, therapeutic intervention may, or may not, be in play. (Off an on, here.)
In any case, as a child that witnessed domestic violence from an early age, I developed a huge, deep-seated, constant fear for my mother's life and safety.
All through my childhood, all through my teens, I worried that something horrible was going to happen to my mother.
As an adult, I faced a threat to her life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was in grad school. It was the first time I considered, as an adult, the fact that, unless I produced offspring, the only blood tether I have in this world would be gone with her passing.
Now that I'm 35, un-partnered, and barren, watching my mother age, I think a lot about her leaving this world, and me in it, alone. I continue to worry.
Thus, this poem.
This poem was written on October 21, 2014 as part of Tupelo Press's 30/30 Project.