The Heredity of Memory

She hasn’t known me for years; instead of throwing hugs she just casts spears, her careworn face now lined with meanness.

It’s hard believing things mother once told me: ‘I’ll love you evermore.’

It started with the bears she saw supping in the gloaming. ‘Four of them, as real as day, with teacups of bone china.’

She speaks of them with a faraway look in her eyes as if she sees the memory playing across the eroded silver screen of her wasted mind.

I wish she’d play the memory of me: the holidays in Cornwall, that thunderstorm in Fiesole when we dashed back to the caravan, even when I failed my GCSEs, and shamed her.

It’s hard to remember.
‘It’s me, mother…’

But the waters of the womb aren’t strong enough to stop her fatal amnesia; a fugue that lasts a lifetime brought on by father’s death, but the signs were there before he left, when she spoke of bears in their Sunday best.

‘Take me to the woods! Take me when the trees are bleeding, you’ll see them, too, you’ll see I’m right.’

And so we search countless forests, because despite the raining punches she showers on me, demanding, ‘Who are you?’ she is my mother.

A copse in Wiltshire overlooking August wheat was our last trip together. Whilst golden stems with heavy ears bowed awaiting harvest, she passed in the car home, staring out the window. It wasn’t till a bumpy rhythm started – her head on tempered glass – I realised she’d gone.

So here I stand on a hill in Fiesole, dusk turning Il Duomo red, denying my grief, admitting something else, instead.

A Tuscan sunset turns the olive trees to bleeding Roman pillars.

And at my feet a child’s teddy bear set, forgotten, left and faded.

About haringeyunchained

Haringey Unchained is a collective of students aiming to show case the creative talent of Haringey Sixth Form College in Tottenham, London. We think that through the promotion of our creative thoughts, we can educate our community, bringing to the foreground the critical and creative consciousness of a vibrant school in a deprived part of London. We are endeavouring to provide this blog as a platform for our community, giving the space to those whose work otherwise might not be seen or read. Being that the cuffs are off, we are able to express through our photography, art, short fiction and poetry, what’s really on our minds. We are free.

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