Mental Mommy

By Liam Rector 1949–2007 Liam Rector
Home from school at six years old, first grade,
And uncle there to tell me Mommy
Gone, Mommy not be coming back any
Time soon, Liam, Mommy had to go to
Mental hospital. Nervous breakdown.
Years later Mommy, when she gets out
Of mental, often says, “If you’re
A bad boy for me Liam you’re
Going to send me back, back
Into mental hospital, like you did
First time.” At 13
I find out Mom had been doing years
In a federal prison all that time,
For stealing, so no mental hospital for
Mommy. Breakdown ours alone.
I was on my own.

Liam Rector, "Mental Mommy" from The Executive Director of the Fallen World. Copyright © 2006 by Liam Rector.  Reprinted by permission of The University of Chicago Press.

Source: The Executive Director of the Fallen World (The University of Chicago Press, 2006)

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Poet Liam Rector 1949–2007

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Coming of Age, Disappointment & Failure, Life Choices, Parenthood, Relationships, Home Life, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment

Poetic Terms Confessional, Free Verse


Founder and director of the Graduate Writing Seminars at Bennington College, poet Liam Rector attended a number of colleges as an undergraduate without completing a degree. He eventually earned an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His poetry collections include The Sorrow of Architecture (1984), American Prodigal (1994), and The . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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