for National Poetry Day

To My Mother, by Mary Montague

I’ve just bought it, my own birthday present
from you; the first one, harbinger of a new
era, not good, but inevitable. The years
of the frivolous, the desperate clanging
attempts to lure me to your notions
of femininity, are over. Times,
I felt like your changeling, that you
thought me foreign as Siberia. Now
I’d take the gilt glamour, your chunky
jewellery and horrendous fashions.
Anything to show that you’d left
the gritty detritus of your bed, gone browsing
in cheap boutiques and bargain basements,
forgotten your pain for an afternoon.
So, today, with your birthday money,
I found myself at the jewellers, settling
for earrings you’d never have bought for me:
small studs with a Celtic spiral, silver
to your gold, modest to your flamboyance.
If you could’ve chosen these for me.
If you could’ve gifted our difference.


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