Complicity through silence – this is what makes
her as much the abuser as if she’d touched
her daughter herself. And Mum would’ve taken
her mother’s silence with her, except dying
brings out the worst in us, surfaces poisons
corrosive to the armour of denial.
My mother’s mother, keeping mum for decades:
sweeping all the hushed things into her daughter
till she’d made of them a child she couldn’t bear.
No wonder Mum grew cold, bitter, cancerous,
cocooned by a womb spun from hurt disallowed;
trapped until her death freed both her and the truth.
Who’d have guessed she’d erupt into confession?
To ease her final hours they gave her morphine.
There was nothing they could give her for those years.