A Mother’s Letter to her Son

Why do you stare at me like that

as though the cat

disdained to drag me in?

When you arrived you

half-turned your body so that my

hug met your bony hip and my

lips kissed unwashed hair, and now

you sit in sulphurous silence, a

dead-pool in this

maelstrom of merriment with

eyes that poison me.


I know you miss your Father: do I? Not really,

no.  That hateful man took me like he took

Norse forts—often, and with no pleasure for the

taken—and once I was big with you, my

maids were besieged instead so the

court is full of your half-brothers—

didn’t you know? Children you

played with—maybe your

best friend? All I could do was

weep and leap at kindnesses and your

Uncle was always kind, with a

smile here and a hand to help there and a

murmured compliment on my looks when my

husband’s eye told me otherwise, and you

grew up, grew distant, went away, and then he

died and I rejoiced, God help me,

freed for one second to be myself.


That same night your Uncle came to me, to

mourn, commiserate, say all the

starchy, hypocritical things one says but I

stopped him with a kiss that turned into an

embrace that turned into the

fuck that changed my life and

wretchedly seems to have

changed yours.


It’s the sex that disgusts you,

isn’t it? That your

middle-aged Mother could

kiss a man, want him? Well I do

want him—my deluge after the

draught of my marriage, my

wetlands where I will winter

safe in his feathered breast.


And why are sweat-stained beds just for

the young? I revel in the

draining effusions that

drench the sheets, having never

felt them before: they

make me feel dirty and happy and

sixteen again. Perhaps I will have

another child? What do you think?


Oh look at you! Poor monkey! So much

intellectualisation and not enough

sex: why don’t you put that

sad lust-addled girl out of her

misery? She follows you like a dog so

fuck her like one, or are you

too cruel, too obsessed with your

Father, your uncle, me?


I didn’t expect my sweet boy to

hate women so. I beg you,

stop this now before it’s too late and

every night becomes like this one, full of

rancour and sour distress,

going round in circles, suffocating

dawn’s hope with dusk’s despair

because every night it will

end badly.

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  • lifethroughblueeyes  On September 17, 2011 at 12:31 am

    First, congratulations on your 200th post.
    And secondly, this is strong, powerful and biting. While reading, I saw the scences played out in front of me, right down to the clothing and the faces. You have a mini-play here, a very visual one.

  • lifethroughblueeyes  On September 17, 2011 at 12:37 am

    apologies for the typo…”scenes” 🙂 Kudos on this one my friend.

  • Tonya  On September 17, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Congratulations on your 200th post.

    I believe you’ve channeled Hamelet’s mother perfectly. A wonderful piece to sit back, take in and enjoy.

  • Carmen  On September 17, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Gosh, this is simply wonderful. Absolutely breathtaking.

  • Annie Player  On September 17, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Incredible to read!
    I always love your work and the rhythm of your wording. This is such a heart-felt story to read. Thank you & congrats! -x-

  • Edith  On September 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm


  • Linda Munn  On September 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    This even applies to modern times. There are still people going through what you have described so meticulously well. Bravo, for understand things that people try not to think of!

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