Everywhere, Even the North Country

       In this version, it’s the mother who goes to Hell.
In more ways than one, but let’s start

       with the physical. She’s exhausted.
Who wouldn’t be, doing the same thing year in,

       year out, the nothingness of winter wrenched open
at the root by spring’s effusion. And the whole

       goddess thing is getting old. Why this need
to keep up appearances? So tedious. So relentless.

       As for her daughter—well, her daughter’s grown
and on her own, too wrapped in the arms

       of her beloved to notice her mother’s alone,
her so-called husband having betrayed her

       again—old bull who thinks his cum is gold.
Go to Hell! she’ll cry if he comes to the door.

       Then she remembers: She’s already there.
It’s not a question of other people; it’s life

       forcing its separations, life saying, You wanted love,
didn’t you? Well guess what: without loss,

       you’d have no idea what love is.

Night after night, the same longing. Night after night,

       the moon, slivered silver, full gold, mocking
her earthly desire. How many miles

       to there and back? She’s forgotten the basics.
As for her daughter—well, her daughter’s grown—

       Repeating herself again. That’s the other thing
about life: the repetition. Time speeding up

       so the seasons follow too fast to be anything
but a blur out the window where she sits weeping,

       feeling there are no windows, just smoke
and dark, caves of them she’s traversing by torchlight.

       What she wouldn’t give for a little green, a white
flower glowing in the night. But to Hell

       with all of it. She’s betrayed, abandoned;
been betrayed, abandoned. Why go on? Because it’s life,

       she hears, in a voice made of smoke and forever.
She could lay the torch down right here, right now,

       sleep the sleep of the dead. But she keeps going.
It’s coded in, such persistence. Come Hell or high

       water, she’s in it for the long haul. What light
she sees is no less there for being dreamed.

Lynne Knight | Whose, Then
Mudlark Contents | Mudlark Chap No. 66 (2018)