I MEET YOUR MOTHER FOR THE FIRST TIME

A Poem by John Grey

She is in exile here.
your mother, the gray-haired female Napoleon,
bestriding this St Helena of a kitchen.
We find her on a rock
between the wall cupboards, stove
and table.

Your father moved out years ago,

she does not recreate him,
merely nods towards the
remnants of his empire,
the walls, the ceilings,
honored by her choice
of curtain, paper, linoleum,
and this liberating cooking range.

Her eyes peck at me for
signs of constancy.

I grip your hand tight.

I’m aligning with her hopes

not planting the seeds of your banishment.

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