It’s in hunger

that I write best

about you, mother

when you don’t look

above my shoulder

presentable you are absent

or else you appear

your mad gaze searching

for my readiness to admire

but I was not born

to approve of you, mother.


It’s in hunger

that I remember best

how your love lacked

milk, mother

my mother so called

my property, so proper

beautifully groomed girl

who eyed my teacher after

school hoping he would think

I was your sister

or even your mother.


It’s in hunger

that you wove best

mother, I wish you were

an otter, short-legged

mustached, anything but

this sleek hysterical hyena

who couldn’t swim

only catwalked, no fish

remains for me

you relinquished mother

masked my pleas with a hood.


It’s in hunger you taught me

that less is best

how to sever

love for ever.


(Sabine Huynh, published in the poetry magazine Cyclamens and Swords)

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