knock, knock. who’s there? your mum.

By | 7 October 2021

your mother is a shopping cart
in a newly-paved parking lot,
a little apart (see there)
from the other shopping carts.

and behind that cart
is a big old car, and that
is your mother also,
now that she’s older –
a hulking great safari beast,
a 4WD that knows it’s not new.

your mother was new to town, wasn’t she?
once, and on the lookout
for a good hairdresser
who’d treat her early greys with style,
and sensitivity.

remember –
your mother’s not a well.
she doesn’t just dry up.
even though you threw
a bucket at her that time
which was plasticine
and empty (thank god).

hey! ew!
your mum threw up
a small pile of puke
in the front-row seats
at the cineplex,
where your dad chose the movie
(before he declared himself missing).

luke! i am your mother!
declared your mother to herself.
she always hissed at the screen
during credits, and cackled
all the way home.
yeah, look, she’s been acting
real strange lately.

but still,
your mother was a financier.
and you lived in that big fancy house
and she wore the best linen suits
(we all stared)
through all 38 degrees
of her endless fever. remember –
how she’d come back from work
her lips cracked from yelling:
high risk or no reward!
did your mother ever tell you
she rode a bull into town
as a little girl?

yep yep yep
your mother was a little girl
no denying it
who pushed a bigger girl
into bitumen for the fun of it
and the big girl tried to eat her.
but your mother,
she found a way out –
through stomach or through elsewhere.
she was always resourceful.
she was … fighting spirit.
she made a tunnel
to smuggle out all the goods.
yeah that’s your mater on wartime radio!
a voice in the background,
a queen of the playground.

okay hey! look,
your mama wasn’t very nice to my mama
(been trying not to mention this but)
and look, my mama probably started it.
she probably wanted
those dollar-dollar-bills
that your mama kept in her secret vault
for those rainy days so
when the water main burst
through the combination lock
and the house became a splintering boat,
you would still be okay.
we had watched them work

all over her.
one last go
on your ma,
or my ma,
as she was also known.

well, look at that
big balloon go!
a red heart glowing
against a dark sky.
that’s just light pollution,
she would have said,
turning a pink balloon crimson.
don’t let the sight of it carry you away
(you’re so sentimental).
and then your mother
would have laughed
to my mother. the pair
or the two or the whole of them going off,
like a bloody broken record.

This entry was posted in TMLYMI v5 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Related work:

Comments are closed.