Monday, May 30, 2011

The telltale mother

What kind of person enjoys
inspiring terror in another?
My mother was one such,
keeping us all in fear
well into our respective adulthoods
over the smallest of potential infractions,
giving one and all the 'hairy' eyeball.
Everyone in her life walked on eggshells
rather than risk her wrath at real or imagined
lapses on our parts in her purported and
ever-mutating behavioral code.
A twitch of her lips
- no magic nose wrinkle here -
in a public place alerted the
vigilant offender to upcoming consequences
when finally out of the community eye.
She seemed to delight in scaring off the boys
who came to call on her girls.
What teenage boy has the cojones
to stare down a basilisk
when there were other girls to woo with
less intimidating mothers?
She learned it from her father
whose crass style included
shouting crude suggestions and
threats out the door after both his
daughters and their dates.
My father was and is a brave man to be
married to her for forty eight years. Though
he never once freaked out our dates.
Even when he didn't approve.
She never endorsed anyone.
(Posted for Week 39, 6-13-11, Poetry Potluck, "Bossy People")


  1. So many of us just follow in the erratic footsteps of those who brought us up, and raise our own in the same dysfunctional way.

  2. Some things are hereditary but that doesn't mean that we can't break free. I have my own successes and I think you succeeded as well. Great write -- I can see your mom twicthing her lips ;)

  3. ...What teenage boy has the cojones
    to stare down a basilisk
    when there were other girls to woo with
    less intimidating mothers?

    ...not many. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. bravo.

    I am different from my mother.
    She is awesome in many ways.

    bless you both,

  5. Thank you for sharing this and I understand why you picked her to write about she sounds like a severe woman my mom was not really strict, she had a childish temper quick to flare up and quick to diminish but very volatile


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