Dear Mother

Owen Bullock

Dear Mother,
I worked out why I love cream: you craved it when you were pregnant. I’m grateful for the jumpers you knitted me, though they didn’t always fit. I loved the way you played with words, without knowing you were. You had your own grammar; I based my Cornish story on the way you spoke. I’m glad you cherished daffodils, I could gather some from the bank. You asked me to pick earts for the pie – more time in the hedges. It intrigued me that you had friends – I didn’t know how. You told people on the phone I was clever. You had a phone voice, putting back in all the aitches you normally dropped, and some extra ones. I’m sorry I fought with you when I was 14. You could always get the better of me by pulling my hair. You told me I was never meant to be born, you wanted another girl, you were tired, sitting with your head back, a flannel across your brow, eating blood oranges. Thankyou for the Leeds United kit, sewing band patches on my denim jacket, for the money to go to football and gigs, for playing with my kids, making them mice from folded hankies like you used to do for me, having the password ‘cup of tea’ to come into your caravan when you stayed, for the knitted bumbletubs you sent when they were little, odds n ends from the opshop. Thanks for asking me to take you on a trip to Mevagissey in your chair, the last outing we had together in a blue-watered, double-harboured heaven.
From your son,

Note: earts – Cornish dialect word for wild blueberries

Owen Bullock has published poetry, haiku, tanka and fiction; most recently, Uma rocha enorme que anda à roda (A big rock that turns around), translations of tanka into Portuguese by Francisco Carvalho (Temas Originais, 2021); Summer Haiku (Recent Work Press, 2019) and Work & Play (Recent Work Press, 2017). He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Canberra. He has a website for his research: @OwenTrail @ProcessPoetry 



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