I love and fear you, mother, as I love and fear myself By Cloe Watson

I love and fear you, mother, as I love and fear myself

How do I count what I couldn’t possibly owe?
How do I speak this awkward love with a phrase
when the truth is, I’ve never forgiven you,
not for your empty spaces or the lonely days,
not for my brain’s love of all things blue
or our house of cobblestone-colored clays.

Past being molded by the hands of your drinking
and the guttural sounds that became my name,
I stop my private shrinking,
not even looking to blame 
as we sit on your boyfriend’s sofa,
where you tell me that my problems of the mind
are solely my own, and have I ousted soda?
No, but Your favorite color lives in the cerulean blinds. 

You were once very kind.
I slapped your leg once as a child,
and never hurt you again.
How could I after a punishment so mild—
your eyes holding in your dewy tears as if friends.

It worries me that you’ve had small joys,
like your finger swooping through warm wax
and making honey bread for your schoolboys,
but you still can’t be a mother to anyone
but your child self who is still you in every dream,
because how then do I last from day to coming day, 
my own child sleeping in my eyes as a gleam
as I wonder how much small joys could possibly weigh.

Cloe Watson is a second year MFA student at Bowling Green State University. Her work has been featured in Defunkt Magazine, Wingless Dreamer, Dreams Walking, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, The Racket Journal, Ohio’s Best Emerging Poets, Mosaic Magazine and Alleghany Magazine. 

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