Friday, April 29, 2016

Who Cares What We Eat For Breakfast?

I remember my mother
(I remember my mother)
screaming that she was going to kill herself.
(I'm just going to kill myself!)
It seemed as if that happened a lot but maybe only once.
(Who knows?)
I think a lot, plus a much younger brother remembers her doing it as well.

My closest-to-me-in-age brother says
He said, he says, he screams these words at me.
Not any more. We have parted and he lives as far away from me as he can
Which he has done for all the years of his adult life

Here's the thing of which I am sure
Mother was so angry at all which had befallen her
And she had every reason to be.
God knows she did

It's just that a child whose mother is angry
(so, so angry)
in her heart that the anger is hers, earned in some mysterious way.

This morning I poached an egg, still warm from the chicken.
I watched it in the water.
It looked exactly like a jellyfish at first
It's translucent edges around that golden eye gracefully ruffling
given life in the bubbles
of the small sea in the pan
and then it turned the ruffling edges and jellyfish skin

I toasted two tiny rounds of sourdough bread and buttered them
And placed the perfect egg atop one of them
Cut it all up into bites, fork and knife flashing
I ate it all slowly and it was good
(So good), then
set the bowl in the sink with water to soak

I am sorry you were so angry
(I am)
but I wish I had not thought your anger was mine
to bear.

It had no more to do with me than the simmering water has to do with the egg
(the perfect egg, still warm from the hen)
And yet, that simmering water changed it as surely as that anger changed me.

Simmering, simmering, brought to a boil
The sacrifice of the egg
Still warm from the mother's body
(I ate it up)
But to no good purpose
(not one good purpose)
at all.


  1. That was beautiful, Mary.
    Your spontaneous words are so raw and real and touching.
    You were a perfectly sweet and innocent little girl with a much too large burden.
    I am so grateful that you have found your purpose, your good purpose, and all your children are so blessed by it.

  2. The egg was sacrificed for a very good purpose, your continued existence. so sorry you internalized your mother's anger. I pushed mine away.

  3. I love your soul. I know you have seen some shit. Yet you demonstrate such love.

    This poem is utterly gorgeous. And I cried.

  4. This is such a powerful internal narrative, Mary. I read this right after reading a comment you left me more than a year ago, about my own mother, who was then declining, who was two months away from dying. And then I came here and it was like a continuation of our conversation, almost loopy how seamless it was. I feel your pain here, your regret at the loss of your brother, who perhaps absorbed the anger, too. But just as the egg had a purpose, you took the burdens of your childhood and transformed your life. You made a brand new story for your children, and that is the best purpose there is. Holding you, friend, with so much love.

  5. I feel you, here. Get it all out. It's your safe place.

  6. Stunning poem and analogy.

  7. Sometimes the raw-ness of your words make me cry. Not for me, for I was blessed with the happiest of childhoods. But for you and countless others like you, who still wear the pain that was inflicted upon them, sadly by someone whose only job was to love. Hugs and peace to you (and all the others).

  8. Mary, I love you a lot. Your writing is superb.

  9. What a powerful poem Mary so gorgeously realized and true in the way that made me nod my head YES then YES then YES all the way through. Thank you.

  10. I think the most sensitive of us pick up on the emotions of others. That is not to say that others are insensitive but that certain people pick up on the verbal and non-verbal cues that may go unnoticed by others.

    A lovely poem, Mary.

  11. sometimes the only good thing about my childhood is that i am the only keeper of those sort of memories. the only person i have to doubt me is me.

    sending love and light


  12. Mary I love how you can write about this with honesty x

  13. Such a strong post, and image, and poem. I know this too well. I am so bewildered by my father's anger that was never meant to be mine, but is here, in my self, in my house, and has ruined so much, so unfairly. And I feel like a victim, even though I'm the one who brought it here.


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