by Kate Meyer-Currey
‘Shattering’ is the only word she ever
spoke to me, her daughter. She lived in
its shadow. I am the child of guarded
words. I grew up behind walls of silence,
never breached by careless questions.
It was how she protected herself and I
honour it. It was a bitter truth to learn.
Before, I felt shut out by her facade of
containment. I pounded at the drawbridge
of her besieged life like an emotional
battering-ram. She held fast. As I sulked
in the tent of youthful self-absorption, I
thought she did not care. I was wrong.
My father assailed my mother’s integrity
during their forty-year marital blockade.
I was a Trojan horse, sent in to spy behind
the lines. But, like all informers, I served
both sides and said nothing. She, too,
was immutable under the Greek fire of
his verbal abuse. He was a traitor who
derogated her suffering, so she turned to
stone. After my father’s death, stalemate
turned to truce and we regrouped, both
battle-weary. We forged a new alliance.
My mother was the watchtower that kept
me always in her sights. She was remade
from her darkness into my searchlight: a
beacon to my distress-flare. Under its
guiding beam I found my way home.
by Kate Meyer-Currey
Mid-July’s rising thermometer has brought
the first sultry heatwave of sunflowers
back to supermarket shelves. I first saw
them this week as I sweated round Tesco
after work. I envied them, dipping their
toes in the bucket, as if they chilled at
their local Lido. They were long and lean
in high-cut chartreuse one-pieces, with
stems for days. With their dirty-blonde
tousled petals, they were ‘Fifties pin-up
girls, fresh from a boardwalk photoshoot.
Hand-picked by model-scouts, they had
survived the killing fields of casting to
make the final cut. Even under strip-lights
their tight-pored perma-tanned faces were
immaculate. They blanked me with their
inscrutable Rayban stares, from behind
shuttered eyes. I was a clumsy wildebeest
eyed up by this blonde-maned lioness
pride. Under their burning gaze, I felt
photosensitive. My hand shielded my
eyes from the radiant heat of their glare.
Normally I’m drawn to sunflowers, but
not today. I imagined how I’d feel facing
their cool appraisal after a twelve-hour
shift and I balked. I need to work on my
summer body before I take that lot on.
Kate Meyer-Currey (she/her) was born in 1969 and moved to Devon in 1973. A varied career in frontline settings has fueled her interest in gritty urbanism, contrasted with a rural upbringing. Her ADHD also instills a sense of ‘other’ in her life and writing. She currently has over forty poems in print and e-journals.
|| back to issue ||