Her Mother’s Gift

Clare Morris

In her fourth summer, her unfocused, fuzzy, freehand sight
Saw only dapple-draped uncertainties -
Uncorrected kaleidoscopes of colour would cartwheel unbidden,
Splashing through shallows in delirious abandon
As subtle shades swam fin-fast through her pool of vision.
Sometimes, luck was with her and she would catch them quickly before they disappeared again,
Frisking and frolicking in the half light,
As prickly as the sticklebacks she fished for with her brothers.
More often than not, she would wait and wait,
Her back bent in concentration,
Chilled by sudden shadows,
Quelled by confusion,
Barely discerning the black from the white.
Into this myopic world, one Sunday, burst a moment of rare beauty -
She felt her breath stop in her throat -
There on the kitchen table it gleamed and glimmered:
A sleeping rabbit in pink blancmange
Into which, in her magic, her mother had breathed life.
She stared, the tip of her nose nearly touching its timorous pink-tinctured flesh
As, marshalling her hesitant eyes to work,
She explored each glistening pore.
In the silence of the kitchen,
The sunlight shyly aslant,
Mindful too of the heavy weight of that moment’s awe,
They stood and worshipped it,
She and her new-found friend, the sun,
And worshipped her mother too, the high priestess who made all things well.
Wanting no more than to share in her mother’s munificence,
She begged to bear this bounteous offering to the awaiting guests. 
Her promises were legion:
She would be careful, she would not drop it.
In her imagination, she heard the gasps of wonder as she entered
And presented her mother’s glorious gift to the world.
Her eyes had seen salvation
And her tongue tingled in sweet anticipation of its taste.
Her mother’s guiding hand gave cool benediction to her sunburnt shoulder,
As her right foot negotiated the door jamb.
Forgetting their former pact,
Greedy for a slice of shared glory,
Unabashed, the sun beat down,
Bestowing directly on the floor tiles a traitor’s kiss.
Dazzled at such brazen betrayal,
She tripped.
Feeling only the hot, fierce tears of failure and shame,
She stared into a well of misery where no fish swam.
Her mother hastily administered to the remains,
‘Not to worry – it’s still in the dish.’
Her brothers looked on in a mixture of bewilderment and annoyance,
Hungry to plunge spoons into the now quivering heap
And she,
Despite her mother’s capable calm,
The clatter of cutlery, the continued conversation,
‘Well, aren’t we lucky with the sunshine today?’
Tasted her first funereal meats of mourning.
Grown now, sporting her designer entrées to the peep show,
She sees things as she is told they must be.
But when life’s spectacle weighs too heavily,
Discarding these necessary props,
She searches again for her world of gleams and glimmers,
And then, leaping high, high as the sun
That shines again in friendship,
Resplendent in gorgeous pink fur,
Gorging on beauty’s jellyful joy,
She prays for absolution.

Clare Morris is a writer and poet from Devon, UK. Having gained her BA in English Literature from University College, London and PGCE from Newman College, Birmingham, she became a full-time teacher. She gained her PhD from Exeter University, whilst teaching full-time. She has also worked as an editor for The Blue Nib and The Write Life. She enjoys contributing to Taking the Mic, a monthly open mic workshop for local poets. She collaborates regularly with abstract artist, Nigel Bird (www.nigel-bird.com), focusing on responses to the surrounding environment. They are looking forward to the publication of a joint pamphlet next year.



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