i impersonate your mother without even trying,
and you hate me just because.
i am everything you didn’t like about the person
who raised you and i grew up being formula-fed resentment
towards the woman you say i resemble,
so it comes as no surprise that you get to tell me
all the things you couldn’t tell a dying woman-
i can take it, right?
[just tell it to her grave, why don’t you?]
we are avoiding the dead woman weighing us down-
tergiversation personified in our every conversation;
and a dead martyr is puppeteering our inevitable separation.
and i am already your mother reincarnated but
this time, you are raising me
but you are back in 1975
with the mother you are embarrassed of-
fast forward to 2016
and your daughter makes the same goddamn mistakes
and you are wondering what this could possibly be karma for-
i know you are thinking it but i will never ask you directly,
not if i know what is best for me.
we are skirting around the obvious,
a sort of potentially fatal waltz-
one wrong move and i am impaled
& you are condemning my mediocrity
as if it is the eighth deadly sin,
as if i am letting virgil lead me through
“oh, look! we’re in the ninth circle.
bye, mom. thanks for nothing!”
& you dramatize my downfalls and chalk it up
to genetics that skipped a generation when in reality
i learned it from you- your impunity is imagined
and one day you will watch my back as i walk away,
blood dripping from where your knife entered,
tracing my limping abandonment,
and blood is not thicker than water when the only time
you shed blood for me was when i was being born-
and that part is mandatory.
i am smart enough to know that this is my mother’s
first time living too, but bitter enough to ask why she would
spend her time making her daughter pay for the sins of her mother.
besides, the full quote is “the blood of the covenant
is thicker than the water of the womb”-
and i am done shedding my own blood
for a fruitless relationship, born from the fruit of the womb
but borne into predetermined failure.
i am done with the one relationship
that was supposed to be unconditional,
so maybe god will adopt me-
i don’t think he has a mother to compare me to.
Jillian is a 17 year old poet from Pennsylvania who enjoys writing about mental health, feminism, and outer space. In her free time, she skis, plays chess, and listens to music.