Every fairy tale requires the absence of mother.
Possibly the presence of stepmother. But where
did the mother go? Dead in fever-dream, my dear?
Lips burning prayers to Jesus, your tiny palm
pinning a cool cloth to her forehead?
This is a different story. The Tale
of the Mother Who Left.
Every day the same. Putting the food in,
cleaning up what comes out. A child
is a type of worm in its infancy.
But a worm everyone seems to adore.
Strange larva, always wanting more.
And it is this always-wanting-always-touching
that blurs the border between
But which escape to plan?
There is the crying-crying-won’t-stop-crying
melon-thud of head into wall. Ohmigod, I’m so
sorry, Ohmigod I’m so sorry. But then the stunned
beauty of silence. The calm call to the police.
Waiting in the sun and fresh air of the new world
outside of the screaming
Or petal bloom of blood
underwater. Crush-metal of car into concrete.
All the mother ever wants is silence. All she
wants to be is alone. To drown in the river
or whiskey, to marry the knife or the pills. To free-
fall eight stories, but with or without
And this is where we learn
The Mother Who Left is hero/not monster.
To walk away, board the bus, step up
into the cab of the big rig, telling the trucker
Thank you. I’ve just got to get out of here
is the same story as giving the child love.
© Shaindel Beers
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- Painting by Azerbaijan War Survivor Sasha Morohov, Age 9
- After A Thirteen Year Old Darfurian Boy’s Drawing
- “I Want To Give Liam A love”
- After Martija’s Watercolor, Croatia
- Water, Water Everywhere
- After Origin Story by Jessica Plattner
- From an Eight-year-old Darfurian Girl’s Drawing
- There Are Men…
- Sunday Worship