Torsten Behrens CC
I show up to therapy with my mother,
And she is already there waiting for me,
a surprise since she’s never been on time a day in her life.
the therapist welcomes us in,
but there is only one chair for us to sit, and the therapist
asks if I want to sit on my mother’s lap,
but I know her touch is poison; I know she has mixed just the right dosage for me.
Mother cries she moved to Canada to give me a better life,
I look around and ask where is it then?
The therapist says I need to appreciate my mother’s sacrifices.
Mother lights a cigarette,
I ask why she lied about always being a smoker throughout my childhood,
she’s shocked, hurt, she’s never smoked a day in her life;
the therapist applauds her good life choices,
Leans over to light another cigarette hanging from my mother’s mouth.
I empty her purse and there’s nothing but nicotine patches and gum.
My mother holds up old used wax strips, laughs that my hairlessness is a myth.
I say she took me to my first appointment so I could stop looking like a man,
she swallows them whole, says I remind her of my father.
I tell the therapist how she sped into oncoming traffic screaming
I’ll be the death of her and damned if she doesn’t take me with her;
my mother cries, says I made her do this,
says if I had been a better child none of this would have happened.
My sister walks in, both of us eye her, plead for her
to take our side, tell the truth about the other.
she opens her mouth, but before any words
come out, her tongue severs itself free and
flies out the window, faster than any of us can catch.
She goes to the corner and cries.
I tell the therapist mother loved me best in black and blue, throwing tv remotes
until my eyes blackened under her love. Mother sits like an angel,
a halo of smoky innocence around her, says we never even owned a tv.
Mother vomits up poker chips and the therapist wheels
in a blackjack table, starts dealing cards, says childhood trauma
is the buy in. mother says since I blame her for everything,
I owe her my buy in, reaches into my throat to find my share.
Her stack of chips is taller than her four feet ten inches,
she keeps tapping for another hit, says she’s never played before, how exhilarating as she
pulls another stack of chips closer to her, building a castle of safety
around her; but I know it’s only one wrong hit away from tumbling down.
The therapist keeps repeating my issues with my mother
could be solved if I just forgave myself and
offers me lavender oil to keep calm and destress,
I turn into a meadow meant only for my mother to trample,
the therapist anoints me in lavender again.
It’s the end of the hour, mother says she can’t pay,
asks to borrow a twenty, a fifty;
she turns it into pennies, hoping to hit the jackpot with the next one.
Nico Lorraine is a queer latinx living in beautiful British Columbia with their cat. They find inspiration in the mountains and the forests, and writes poetry to remember and to relive.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.