Looking for Mother, by Dorothy Molloy
I ransack her room. Loot and pillage.
I root in her trunk. Crack open
the tightly sprung boxes of satin
and plush. Pierce my breast with her butterfly
brooch. I pose in her hats,
French berets, mantillas of lace,
the veil that falls over her face,
the boa she wraps round her neck.
I try on her shoes. her slippers
are mules. I can’t walk in her callipered
boots. I break into her wardrobe.
Hands grope in the dark. Faded bats,
like umbrellas, are humming inside.
Stoles of fox-fur and mink : tiny claws,
precise nails. Lips clamped in the rictus
of death. I’m hot on the scent
of oestrus, umbilicus, afterbirth,
eau-de-cologne, I fling myself
down on the bed that she made
of dirt from the Catacombs, blood
of the saints. Under the counterpane,
nettles, goose-feathers, a tore.
from : The New Irish Poets, edited by Selina Guinness Bloodaxe 2004.
I remember well those fox-furs, my own mother was bequeathed a pair and I too delved into the huge old wardrobe, bringing out the fur stoles complete with little curled feet and a golden chain effect that operated as a clasp. The wardrobe revelation is part of most girl’s growing, though only that it were a peaceful thing. There is so much fear for some young girls. I will add in the UN links on campaigning to end violences against women and girls when I correct my widgetry.
In the meantime, there is a small piece on the trousseau, inheritance and the Island Women on the blog (somewhere). I quite remember being unable to zip the zipper of my mother’s wedding dress confection onto me at twelve- nor indeed being able to squeeze my toes into the minute satin winkle-pickers that she wore for her wedding day !
EDIT : 25/11/2010 , this is a Reblog of a piece written to mark the 16 day Campaign to eliminate Violence
Against Women and Girls.