The good things my mother taught me
are too numerous to list
here or even on a large hoarding
I could rent for a week by the train station.
She gave me my blue eyes and my love of stories
and tolerated the fact that, I like my father,would learn
for the sake of it and not with a view to earning money.
She praised my sense of color though not my three year research scholarship
to place of higher learniing
would rather I curled my hair and smiled at boys.
But my destiny was determined by the fact that I never could master that Singer sewing machine she had
so I had to learn Theoretical Physics to make up for it.
And here I am now,thinking of her home made bread
her showing me how to read music
and the names of the keys on the piano.
I know I was a big disappointment in not marrying into money
or becoming a saint or virgin and martyr,well martyr anyway
She always believed me to be a virgin, even after marriage;
and it’s true I was a virgin with regard to common sense
getting on in society and all related issues.
Some ordinary female knowledge never penetrated me
so I’d sit in the rain wondering what tolerance was
or how Pascal got to lie in bed so much,and whether I could too
because I got creative ideas in bed—
not what you may be thinking of—–
She always changed the sheets and washed our clothes however poor we were…
And made us dresses from scraps of fabric
That’s how we learned geometry,with the trapeze dress……
Numbers we learned from the stars and excitement from playing with boys
in a disused brickfield.
Strange what makes us who we are,but
the biggest contribution comes from mothers
and just to please her I hope as well as all my academic success
one day I’ll make myself a dress out of some rare print
embodying simultaneously both male and female design and shape
And she’ll look down and say,
She always had her head in the clouds,in a book,in the smoke patterns from Dad’s cigarettes, in a dream and a whirl
but she did have a good sense of color.
Yeah,she is my daughter
Yeah,once I imagined I must be adopted but
Yeah.I’m her daughter.
She’s my mother.
Now she’s gone.