My Mother Wants In

Leslie Lindsay


I do not want my mother.
Her fragile psyche, her hateful ways
A disease of the mind.
Yet here she is, deep and dark and pervasive.

She comes to me through the membranes of sleep,
Every night.
Stripping away the careful construction of sanity,
Knocking on my door,
Tapping on my window.
Let me in, she says.

Her mouth a tight, pinched line, her cheeks puffy.
My mother’s hands, gnarled, claw-like, gripping the door, wedging it open.
She is half-in, half-out; simultaneously concealing and offering.
Her face like red earth, jaundiced, flabby, and waxen.

I push from the other side.
Go away.
Please, my mother begs. I only want to see you.
I pry at her skin, feel the fibers of her sinew. Cloying, sticky, rigid.

I glimpse the truth of the light in the sky.
And relish in it.
She is dead.
Her madness melting into the earth.





Leslie Lindsay is a mother, wife, and writer living in Chicagoland. Leslie is the award-winning author of Speaking of Apraxia (Woodbine House, 2012). Her work has been published in The Awakenings Review, Pithead Chapel, Common Ground Review, the Ruminate blog, Cleaver Magazine (both craft and CNF), The Nervous Breakdown, Manifest-Station, The Mighty, and forthcoming in Brave Voices Literary Magazine. Leslie is at work on a memoir about her mentally ill interior decorator mother and eventual suicide. She reviews books widely and interviews authors weekly, Leslie is a former child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. at the Mayo Clinic.