She stands in the doorway

The outline of her slim shoulders

The hallway light seems peachy

She is home and without her

Home will be a strange wasteland

Where survivors cling to wreckage

Watching for her shape every night

The smell of her still on tortoiseshell hairbrush

Why didn’t she need it when she left?

How did she choose what to take and what to leave?

The only choice I was certain of


I was not under consideration

That need, to not need

Suffocating on duty and then

Deciding to toss it into waste bin

Along with other chains

I have carried as my own brand of perfume

She who gave me life, wanted life without me

Always did, from the first day they placed me in her arms

And she thought … oh no

It isn’t her fault

Love never arrived

But I am left alive

Yearning to matter, knowing I never will

It is a bigger part of me than I care to usually admit

A voice in the dark always crying for Mommy

A word I haven’t used, I know not

I thought I’d grow up and get over it

But wherever you go, there you are

In my case, a kid whose mom didn’t want

I’m still looking at doorways

Watching for her tread

In other’s faces, a memory yet

Even as I grow older than she was

When she squeezed her heart

And despite the shared DNA

Found it held

Nothing of me

46 Replies to “Nothing of me”

  1. Is there anyone
    Any friend or lover
    Who can replace
    A mother’s care,
    Love, acceptance,
    Or mere regard
    That never was
    That was fated
    Not to be?
    It seems a place
    No other can fill.

  2. Oh, this is heartbreaking, and the words so powerful! A “strange wasteland where survivors cling to wreckage.” Such a perfect and sad description of when someone we need decides they don’t need us. 🙁

  3. This piece is incredible.
    I was following you but now I’m not. WordPress must be glitchy again, I find that I’m randomly unfollowing people through no action of my own. Weird.

  4. River, the same thing happened to me a few years ago I randomly was not following half the people I had. It is definitely a WP genie or devil. Anyway I see you are following again as I am you, so that is good. Thank you dear River for your words of encouragement. I haven’t been writing much of late so busy with the book and editing but it is gratifying to know when I do it’s not lost in the wind. I appreciate you.

  5. Thank you beauty. Did HOKIS reach you yet about the interview? LMK if not and I will try to sort something out. xo BIG HUGS and congrats for the book which is on my ‘buy immediately’ list

  6. You do me a world of good just by caring. I have had hideous writers block so when I do write I am fearful and unsure of its outcome. Thank you for being my friend Sarah I adore you

  7. I don’t think there is. I really don’t. It remains my biggest regret. Though I know people who have never had a mother so that is surely worse. I at least did have a few memories that were good with her, before she was no longer interested and I cherish those.

  8. I lost my mother at the age of 7. At that age, there is nothing but love and acceptance between mother and child, but I wonder how we would have been had we grown together to my pre-teen, teen and adult years. I have only the memories of that early childhood mother, and the fantasy that we would have always been close. That such a chasm could develop as you have written is something that I didn’t think about, and that’s why this is one of yours where I love it for the beautiful writing and perfect words, but my heart breaks for the experiences that created them.

  9. In a way I lost my mother at 6 when she left. Perhaps before, because she never wanted to be there. She has had a wonderful life, and I admire her immensely for her courage, strength and determination. But I was not meant to be part of her trajectory. Some have unfairly judged her for that. Sometimes you cannot help that you don’t love a child, she wasn’t meant to be a parent, it was foisted upon her. Yes I blame her for being cruel to me as an adult but I know she would say I had done the same and whilst I refute that, I can see it from her perspective, as I am reminded, we are all wounded children and to her, I did something wrong to the child in her. Sometimes it is hard to see things from another’s perspective but I do try. I am very sorry you lost your mother at 7. That is horrific and I cannot imagine, because on one level there remains hope when they are alive. That said, hope can be a negative too. I wish you had not experienced that. But what a wonderful person you became. I am glad your memories are positive ones.

  10. Aww I adore you right back. This year has by far been the worst for me in terms of writer’s block. I finally feel like I’m getting my muse back a little bit. It feels so strange, too. It’s like I’m thinking what I write is going to be aimless or just meaningless.

  11. Your poem was so touching and also resonated with me. I had two parents who were alcoholic. Our lives were in danger a lot and one of my worse memories was when my mother tried to kill us all in the car, God intervened. As they both committed suicide and died before I was thirty, it took me a long time to truly forgive them both but I did. It was very freeing. I am sorry for your loss, I can’t imagine what that would have been like to have had a mother just leave. Sometimes I think that our creative side is a gift which is morphed from our heartache, sadness and shame. Your writing is simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing such an intimate story through your gift of prose. Love Joni

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