“MOTHER”

Spring rain falls in curving lines
and I remember the taste of your skin–
full of oranges and ash.
Birds shriek in the rain,
as if my too human errors
set their colorful feathers on fire.

I see Father watching you
through the kitchen window.
He exhales a coffee stained sigh
and retreats to his study before
releasing bitter tears that move no universal law.
He mutters words that evaporate into the air.

I lie in the grass in my Dorothy shoes,
exposed to eternity,
digging my blunted nails into the country of my birth.
In my 30-year mask I laugh because your image
is hidden in each one of my tears.

Did you know that I still speak to you–
when night has fallen and I’m drunk
on your favorite brandy diluted with coke?
(I know, it’s a travesty)
It smells of your creases, of your armpits–
it contains all my childhood terrors,
and the relief I felt when my body touched yours
and I knew no distinctions.

The days are lighter without you.
The ships that burned in your dawn,
that give colors to the seasons of my childhood,
that gave your roses their unbearable red
have sunk in a rain of cinders.
When the night has once more swallowed my body,
I will chart the cartography of your bones
and the atmospheres of your moods.

Sparrows seal the sky with darkness;
there was too much acid in your seasons mother
and now with thirty years cultivated in my contours,
with nomadic hands, blunt as roses,
I stitch your eternity to my eyes.

I measured you;
I broke you down piece by piece.
I drowned you in my sea.
Is that why you hated;
why you drove me out with my body as fragile as light?
Mother, I offer you my hidden self,
unchanged by adversities, or defeats–
I give you the woman I am, every kernel hidden from shadow and light,

I give you every blemish derided into stone,
every vapor of doubt sinking beneath glaciers.
I give you each grief of my heart, all my uncertainties,
in the hope I discover the genesis of our language.
But there is only silence in the weight of our separate lives
and the house curdled with our discontent is soon to be sold.

Your shadowed feet walk upon my years,
and I wear your wisdom like a straightjacket.

— David Hay was inspired to write after discovering the Romantics, particularly Keats and Shelley, as well as the works of Woolf and Kerouac. He has currently been accepted for publication in Dreich, Abridged, Acumen, The Honest Ulsterman, The Dawntreader, The Babel Tower Notice Board Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Lake, Selcouth Station, GreenInk Poetry, Dodging the Rain, Seventh Quarry and Expat Press, among others. His debut publication is the Brexit-inspired prose-poem Doctor Lazarus published by Alien Buddha Press 2021.