Single Mother

by Peter Goldsworthy

Peter Goldsworthy

She lies awake
in the dark of her imagination,
smelling the flames, hearing the screams,
all the terrors of the blind.

Night is illuminated by fear---
solidness gone, natural law repealed
till anything could be out there
beyond the horizon of blankets.

Her violence has turned inwards
---an ulcer of guilt.
She slippers to her child's room,
checks for cot-death or household poison,
checks behind doors for sharks,
locks windows against nuclear attack.

Sleep is her only holiday
as morning rebuilds the world.
Her child safe in milk and honey dreams,
buried in the coffin of her heart.

Last updated February 20, 2023