a mother’s heart



‘Since the beginning of time, never has there been a mother or a father who has not had their heart broken by their children. All they have to do is grow up”  David Whyte


This ‘mother’s heart’ is not a saccharine cliché, so pack up that pedestal please.  Why just today, for instance, mine was rent in an ugly ragged tear. Oh, I could pretty that up with some poetic prose, claim it was merely a cell-like division, as a precedent to any new birth, splitting this heart of mine in two. But the truth is this feels more like the ripping, as when between my legs he tore me , cleaving that very first time.

For that break up, as this, no breathing prepares you . One day he’s a heartbeat within you, the next he’s detached, afloat, free of your anchor, drifting each day, away,


when he is in pain you anguish, each break of his heart ruptures yours,  as though some remnant of his heart remains within yours, though helpless your body is now –to ease his hunger or heal his wounds, to ward off invasions or clear out the toxins that taint.

these same sons bring to you daughters, for your own heart to fall into and wrap round, again. until with that breakup it shatters, love wrenching your heart first here then there. no place for your heartbreak to turn but to rupture, large chunks of it carted away to some future unseen, in which you’re someone unknown. as she realizes her dreams, you’ll be absent

it’s all just rehearsal for death, i suppose, this planned obsolescence, intimacy with built in end dates. with each son that departs, one intimacy after another is stripped. each cherished heart, handed over, into the confidence and care of another, you are privy no more to that treasure. No not this, pain of possession stolen, but that, of attachment broken, as your center becomes their periphery.

Oh mother mary, this is the cross that we bear, with these womanhearts made strong for connection, our own oxytocin forging the bond. placenta, cord, breast, arms, hip, lap, hand, home, heart… each a communion from our own bodies crafted, each then a grave cleavage to bear. grief upon grief, built into this heart, as death is built into this life.

Rightly so, rightly so, the poets exclaim, from vulnerability to invisibility, this life is a great give away, a piece of you here, a breath there, to disappear at last when you’re gone.


you must hope your being has meant something, that these torn off pieces of heart, carried by sons and by daughters, by lovers and friends, has borne in them something of beauty, which they have also borne within you.

Yes, I suppose I prettied it up too here, in the end, else this ragged, cracked open and torn apart heart I couldn’t begin to bear..








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