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at first you wereTo T. S. Ross's previous piece     Voice of Twain: A Broken HaikuTo T. S. Ross's next piece

My mother is dead.
Strange that I should
Miss the voice
Of one who I couldn't
Stand to talk with 
For 30 years

Before that
She'd crippled
Me psychically
By wishing me a girl.
Dad helped.

When my parents split
I was left with her 
When I needed 
A father badly.

She belonged to a cult
That denied reality
To the material world, 
That denied medicine 
To children,
That nearly killed me.

For years I learned
To simply grunt 
An affirmative
When she talked.
The few times I listened
It did not seem worth it.

I became a fag
And the first boy
To pierce his ear
To piss her off.
It did not work.
She wanted
A daughter.

My wife was
Unlike her
In as many ways
As I could see,
And like her 
In ways I didn't see.

My mother helped 
To wreck my marriage.
One great weapon
Was wrecking her

I'd known when 
I moved back home
That I was the one.
She didn't want 
To end her days
In the medical cage.

I was the one
Who must kill her.
When her brother
Defied her wishes
And had her "hospitalized"
I must insist
That in her gasping
She'd begged to go
And not have her foot
cut off.

Scarcely a week I had
Helped to clean 
Her diapers, her dirty
Her befouled sheets, 
Lifting her, rolling her
Rolling the sheets under
Her parchment thin skin, 
Combing her grey hair,
Stroking her brow.
Kissing that skull-like
Looking to see
The light of recognition
Die in her eyes
Before her kidneys

The end came quickly
The death-watch began, 
Twelve hours of 
Unending sleep she had
Before eternal rest.

The last half hour
I was at her side,
Joking, laughing,
To her softly
Like a baby, 
Until I heard her 
And grasped her hand
Before her last gasp.

She died with her son
Holding her hand
And I kissed her corpse
While the brain still lived within,
Sensitive to lips on skin.
She died as she wished
And I murdered her,
As she wished.
I've not been free
Of guilt since.
I wish I could tell her I missed her.

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