Mother said the doctor put her on Guinness
in her first pregnancy, had eight more after that.
A dark brew that never lightened. Never
had a mother so she never knew how to be one,
though she knew about babies and dogs.
A Khan of a woman, no good with people,
still veering away from other women
in the nursing home, telling them to get
their own friends, telling them to get back to bed.
Genghis of a woman, preferred tall men
but married short. Thought marriage was like
double-harness on a pair of thoroughbreds.
Title from Finnegan’s Wake*
There was a warning before it arrived,
the sound of a road train dismantling,
the second time it was the shatter of metal
dragged on asphalt, a plane’s unsuccessful landing,
and going to the kitchen saw her at the window.
The sound may have been compulsive sobs
or the coughing up of bone stuck in her throat
but no one else seemed to hear:
my father at the table reading the The Age,
my sisters running around the house,
my brother hitting a ball against a wall.
Then she turned and displayed the wreckage.
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