Mother in the Wild

This is a poem written by me several years ago. It details a year of experiences with my mother who was in the throws of a terrible addiction and living on the streets at the time. This was a difficult time for me as a daughter and as someone who very much loved and admired her. The poem is actually a difficult one for me to share with an audience but I feel that maybe someone, somewhere could read it and identify, either as myself, the daughter or other loved one or as the person addicted, needing love and help.


Mother in the Wild
You shake like a leaf in the dying Autumn orange and red and gold and I see your eyes wild looking everywhere for you savior. Save me. You say save me from the space in my mind in the dark because it’s so lost now. Daughter. Where did I put it? Hands like a child but the skin in shriveled and yellow and you bite your fingers where the nail used to be and you say “Where did the blood come from?” Brush your hair when I come to see to you and you can’t help the smell of sweat and dirt and have you showered these past days? Mother. Pacing the parking lot. You pace the dirt and the streets and the fix is always a breath away. It comes from the man on the corner or the woman in the house that falls down, falls down, but always it stays up. Cursed house in the neighborhood. Chilly breezes of the virgin winter and you shiver in shorts but you don’t notice the cold. Do you need a jacket and you sheepish and confidant you say, “I would sell it.” Looking for the fix again in the night air, you prowl in the alleys and the motel rooms and the eyes are always watching you. You say they track you to the store and the toilet and the corner across the street. Sweet breath of spring and you sit on the curb, convulsing from drugs in you and it’s taken over now. Moments like spasms and no conversation. Just slur and yell and awful faces and I say “Where are you?” “In Hell”, you say in this high pitched sing song scream. So come home…Dirty shoes and lifeless socks on your skinny legs and feet. Picking at scabs and chewing on some invisible thing. I wonder…what does it taste like? Salty summer sweat and you hang around the cars in this parking lot, this chill is on you like a natural movement. Like the graceful way you used to smoke your Dunhills or the curl of your pinky finger as you sipped champagne and I say “Do you need anything?” “Give me money and I’ll feel so much better”. Kicking up dirt as you walk away this raspy voice from your throat and I know there is no saving you for now. Maybe in the Autumn I can come again.

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