Our Task

One may believe that our task as mothers
is simply to love our children.
Some can.
Some can’t.
Some can’t see the yellow moon
or waves slap against the shore
or their worth.
They run like wind on tails of mustangs.
Hearts armored with granite
stitched together with fallen rose petals,
shattered mirrors—
thin shards that slit throat—
killing that one chicken that always scurried up to the porch
when called out the back door, “Here, kitty, kitty…”

Some kind of crazy, a made-up horror film.
Sometimes true.
That chicken’s feathers were plucked,
emptied blood and guts,
Nowadays, kids don’t farm.
It may be grotesque,
but it is how chickens come to plate.
Fried in an old, black cast iron pan.
Oil splatters stove—
grease is difficult to remove
like memory.
A homemade dinner served
with a box of cheap red wine.

An apocalypse hurts less.

Our tasks as mothers is simply to love our children.
Some can.
Some can’t.

My mother stopped loving me probably when I was 8.
I don’t blame her.
Or her mother.
Or my Great Grandmother.

They were all alcoholics. No one taught them how to mother or love.
They did the best they could.
There was no al anon. Or one day at a time.
Just a poison inside a bottle
hidden under the kitchen sink
only for daughters to bare.

When I gave birth to my daughter 20 years ago,
I labored three days—
Finally, a C-Section.
Then daughter nursed. I promised her
for all the setting suns,
I’d do my best to love her,

cherish her, want her, adore her.

Perhaps, God will recognize my hard work.
My daily struggle to mother.
To love.

Allowing forgiveness. It’s a tremendous gift.
My mother suffers from breast cancer now.
I don’t know how she is doing,
as she doesn’t communicate with me or my brother.
Sometimes she talks to my dad (her ex). He tells us sometimes,

but lately, no one mentions her. Already a ghost.

Mother stays hidden in thoughts and journal pages.
In quiet prayers.
Perhaps, God will give me strength to say goodbye—
not in sadness at her gravesite, but in my heart, instead.

©Gina Marselle, 2020

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