Poem written to an estranged mother, 2014.

The last time I saw you:
Sixteen years old
With my face to the light
At the north end of old York road
With the clouds breaking
Just after a spring storm

I have seen
In my short life
So many sunsets
But none quite like this
Full of mystery
Hope and promise
And the feeling that
This old road
Could lead just anywhere

One day:
I will drive it
Past the sunset
Right the fuck out
Of this little town
And never look back

Until now:

Sixteen and sullen
Silent and unsteady
In your shadow
In the car next to you
While you smoke
In my head, a checklist
Of all the things they never
Ever teach us in school
Like just what exactly
I should do
And where
I should go
As you slip further away
A little more each day

How terrifying it must have been for you
To be a mother
Left all alone in this mess
Raising this
Tiny terror you created
Growing as fast and as cold
As the time moved slow
All on your own

What do you do?
When Mommy’s little monster
Slashed up his arms again
Stays up too late
And refuses to care
Just what anyone
Expects of him

I remember you:
In the silver April light
Standing in the sun
At the end of York Road
Laughing your
Gravel cigarette smoke laugh

The last vestiges
Of the mother I knew
Aging smile
Fading and breaking
With the light
While the sun sinks
Below the horizon
Barely lighting
Our forever
Diverging paths

The last of the light
Giving way to the black and
Long and cold and dark night
you and I
Chose to make
Out of our lives

Poem written to an estranged mother, 2014.