A poem to the mother who battered me

As you swing your hand against my chin

my babyish bones rattle within;

your palm so swift, so hard, so grim,

against my freckly, guiltless skin.


I bow my neck, cover my head

with foetal fingers that seek to protect

my sacred centre, locked from view.

But a curled-up child is always your cue

to parade your power, your strength, your hue

that bitterly, darkly claims its due.


Inside my head is light and free –

that’s the place you can’t reach me.


So, as thunder rams upon my skull,

and in your righteous fury I sense no lull,

I retreat to a place that’s barriered and safe

against which all love will lean and chafe.


I first published this poem as part of my MA Creative Writing project: Inktuition – Healing Through the Written Word. It feels appropriate to re-publish it for NaPrWriMo’s Day 12 prompt on saying things I’d like to say, but will never be able to say, to my mother. She is terminally ill with Pick’s Disease, an aggressive and early form of dementia.