For my Mother
Nearer than lover, her loving error
bears me to his arms. Her prison
fed me, freed me, and all terror
was less, confessed to hand that hastened
the dark away. The multiple face
of her kindness was peace in a warring house.
Watchful, her waiting eye marked down
my flaw. Cursing her kiss, escape
was need to hide what most was known
and plain, the raw unfinished shape
counselled by growth to disobedience,
testing my weather’s change or chance.
Our parallels may never meet
yet I return, my sons at my back,
weighing her burden by head and heart
in the debt of her love, nor doubt what ache
she learned on the crippled gaze of the stranger
climbed out of her cradling breast, my manger.
© Mary Stanley