My oldest daughter, the poet, showed me a poem recently that she apparently wrote some time last year. I won’t pretend to understand all of it, but there were a couple of lines that really appealed to me:

Oranges and Jellyfish

My mother always told me
that I should be satisfied
I want my girls to enjoy it shamelessly, she said
to toss their heads back and shake their hair like mermaids,
like storming tulips.

Sprawled in a concrete car park
with you snapping at my nipples
I am shredded,
torn between you and
white beetles crawling down my throat.

I dreamed we were lying on a beach
and all my teeth fell out,
cradled in my palm like glass beads,
a necklace of ivory tears.
You held my head beneath the ocean
and calmly chewed orange segments.

My mother always told me
to be careful.
Some men will want to hurt you, she warned.
She wrote about her unborn child
in a magazine with glossy pages.

I could feel jellyfish pulsating
beneath my skin.
I bathed in milk
and they ripped you out of me
like a broken heart bleeding on the carpet,
mopped up the stain with straw
and patterned scarves.

Now I don’t actually remember the conversation where I told my daughters I wanted them to enjoy it shamelessly, but if that’s the message they’ve got from me then I’m more than happy with that. Blimey, what a cool mum am I!

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