I was born the mother
you were born the child.
While I was exceedingly sensible,
you were passionately wild.
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.
I cried because a mother should never have
to bury a child.