The perfect mother lets the cat
sleep on her head. The
Where is she?
She is not carefully ironing the starched
ruffles of a Sunday dress.
What does she say?
She does not speak.
Her head is under the cat and
like the cat, she sleeps.
But her children are in a marsh!
Bogged, they have gone wild.
Yet, no one should worry.
See, they are there, in a sunny kitchen.
They drink cups of soup and wipe
their faces with yellow napkins.
What does it matter if
they are hatching plots, if
in their waking dreams
the poor cat is trapped
standing on end?
Where shall we go? We ask the perfect
do you want of us? She is no
where to be found.
Not in the cookie jar
we have broken to bits
not under the shiny kitchen floor
not on our lips.
Here we are transfixed,
mourning the perfect mother, and she
is caught in the trapped cat
of her children’s dreams.
“The Perfect Mother” from Bending Home: Selected Poems 1967-1998 by Susan Griffin. Published in 1998 by Copper Canyon Press. www.coppercanyonpress.org
Source: Bending Home: Selected Poems 1967-1998 (Copper Canyon Press, 1998)