av-salt.jpg (84467 bytes)
Copyright 1991
The Board of
Regents of the
University of
Wisconsin System

Why I Never Came
(Apology to My Mother)

I was nineteen, and that weekend I took
your old Chevrolet to the coast where I goaded
my sometimes lover, the one who put gin
in his coffee, into beating me. His fists
came like hammers, Mama, and when
he had worn himself out on me, when he dragged me
down the gravel road, I thought of you,
and when he laid me like a carcass
in the high grass at the side of Highway 1,
and the sea beat a hundred yards away, inseparable
from the throb of my body,
I thought of you then, too

but I did not come - you in the hospital
dying and I did not come. I bandaged
the ragged cut that swelled like an open mouth
over my eye and I did not come.
I could not say: Mama, I am my father's
daughter, or Mama, I earn beatings
the way you earn wages. I remember

the moon that night rose slowly and hung
large and gibbous over the hills, over
the roof of the hospital and I watched it
from the front steps of your house until dawn.

amzn-black-button.gif (525 bytes)   |  About Renee Ashley  |  The Various Reasons of Light  |  The Revisionist's Dream

home.gif (1906 bytes)