Hungry Ghosts (Mothers and Daughters)

Mothers and daughters
Something tightens
In my throat

A long way from home
And I’ve never felt more free
More alive
Than when I walked away
From my mother

Far away
From the frantic yearning
The striving
Striving for more
To make ourselves … more small

A sufferfest
Of counting calories
Bathroom scales
Diet coke
And Jane Fonda

My mother
The warrior
Anorexic before anorexia
Bulimic before Princess Di
In the smiling, neon, day-glow war
Of the 1980s

My mother
The hungry ghost

When I was four
She dropped my hand
And hissed “stop crying”
“You’ll be fine.”
She was embarrassed
She was annoyed

I was four
And I walked to preschool alone
I did as she said
I followed the two rowdy boys ahead
And I hid
As they did cartwheels
In the green grass

I don’t know
Why a mother would do that
To her little girl

I don’t know
What hellish landscape
She was facing alone in her own world
The invisible misogyny and trauma

Oh the trauma
Of a woman
The invisible trauma
Of mothers and daughters

And truthfully
I cannot say
I wouldn’t have done the same
To my sweet little girl

I truly cannot say
I would have done
Could have done
Better than she did
Had I been in her weary
Worn out shoes

My mother the warrior
I hope you never stop fighting
I hope you never let them
Make you feel less than
Again

I hope you never let them
Make you feel
That you could have done more, been more
More, more, more – all for them
The hungry ghosts who can’t be fed

I’m not angry anymore, dear mom
I understand

We live in a world full of hungry ghosts
Who’d love nothing more
Then for mothers and daughters
To stay angry and hungry

I hope someday you’ll learn to love you

What are you looking for?