My Mother’s Birthday

Blessed with beautiful blue eyes, 
Or perhaps cursed, for they brought Him to her,
She was born in July, and died the next month.
The life she led in the years between
Was a full one, though too often
Full of things she didn’t want,
Like loneliness.
Often penniless,
With four bottomless bellies to fill
Still she kept going, working
For food for the family,
Her brood, unwittingly ungrateful
Urchins, unaware of the horrors
Of the adult world,
Of debt and obligation and duty and care.
Finally, we saw it, it was there
Before us, her story. 
What she had done
For us
Despite us
With us
Without Him
Was remarkable.
More remarkable still
The way she hid it from us for so long,
Did it all her self.
Three jobs at once, I recall,
Morning, evening, night,
Just to keep us fed right
In a grim little terrace
On a grimy back street.
He visited once to look around.
“Christ, Rena,” He said,
Which was nice.
But she kept on, because she had no choice.
She clothed us, raised us,
Taught us many things
But not everything.
There are gaps in us all, we are not whole.
Of course, it took it’s toll
And her own inclinations caught up with her,
Would one day kill her,
But the wound that started it,
The beginning of her end,
Was the day that the last of us
Left her house
Forever.

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