Sunday 21 November 2021

Marie Brummelhuis: 'Mijn moeder is een mottig berin'


My mother is a moth-eaten she-bear,

behind her wheeled walker she roams back and forth

with lead in our shoes we children

come and visit her,

swimming in her belly

we have long since been deprived of.

All feeding forbidden

the sign next to the cage reminds us,

is stroking not allowed either?


We follow all commands obediently,

we maintain a suitable distance

though I want to cuddle her, when no one’s looking

I’ll cuddle her to death on the sly, or no

I’ll smuggle her out of here, she completely

harmless, she’ll never have to accept

fish again that was left over at the auction

or custard desserts in one of those Duralex plastic cups

doing tricks is over, no more psychologists

at her bedside who with a sneaky smile

ask you what day of the week it is

as if they themselves were senile.


My mother was a blackbird

I’ll take her straight to the garden

where she comes from, blue hortensias are in bloom

she is a hind and leaps over ditches

she’ll once more become the child that picks red berries,

no anti-bedsore mattress needed any more

native soil is so much softer.


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