A poem: ambivalence for my dying mother

We’ve never been close

you’ve always resented that.

So you lashed out and used

the shaming sting of your slap

to keep me in my place.

Neither too clever or too cool:

I was only ever safe

as a perfect extension of you.

So now you’re close to dying.

It’s been a rapid, vicious decline.

My resentment for your blows is

twisted round some thorny vine.

I’d love to find forgiveness,

some sense your life was worth

all those prickly punishments;

that your purpose was divine.