Mother

 

The final months of Patrick’s life

my mother tried to make me eat. Enticed

with plates of homemade pasta, green pesto,

whole wheat rolls yeasty and

warm in the centre,

peanut butter on salted crackers,

coconut curry, and once,

a whole chocolate cheesecake

with raspberry drizzle.

 

I tried to eat. A few bites

in and everything tasted

like cancer, round and sandy,

the rough insides

of tumours beneath

a fatty shell.

 

She told me

you have to eat

in times like these.

 

The last year of marriage, my mother

did not eat. The house

wilted. I made myself

vomit to keep

from going to school, should I

come home and find

my father gone.

 

My grandmother said,

you have to eat in times like these. And I watched

all the round layers of her love

for me fall at her once-sturdy ankles.

 

He was gone, in time

and then, pound

by pound, so

was she.