Theresa Donnelly: The Mother Wound


I was born the mother

you were born the child.

While I was exceedingly sensible,

you were passionately wild.


Wild child,

wild child, a source of white heat

with the life bursting out of you

like it was trying to compete.


I didn’t stand a chance. I stayed.

You played in the             darkest corner of the night

beneath a diminishing moon,

your lipstick neon pink,

like an ice-cream parlour in June.


I told you it was too bright,

you defied me

by adding another layer.

I wished you had taken it off

but it seemed you didn’t care, when

I sat in your chair with no homework done.


How could I analyze a poem,

when I constantly stared at the clock

and asked, ‘When is my child coming home?’

You stayed.           I prayed that I could someday

understand this tortuous role reversal,


but I still made you tea, put you to bed

and washed your underwear in Persil.


You died.


I cried because a mother should never have

to bury a child.



Theresa Donnelly is an Irish/Canadian poet who spends her time between Waterville, Co. Kerry and Brooklin, Ontario. Her poetry has been published in the Brooklin Town Crier, Surfacing Magazine, The Copperfield Review, Beret Days Press, Red Claw Press, Ink Bottle Press and The Caterpillar Magazine. She is the author of two poetry books ‘Moon Witch and Other Scary Poems (juvenile) and Recurrence of Blue. She is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and a founding member of The Brooklin Poetry Society.
For more information visit


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s