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The Mother Poem (two)

Written by: Jackie Kay | Biography
 I always wanted to give birth
Do that incredible natural thing
That women do-I nearly broke down
When I heard we couldn't
And then my man said to me
Well there's always adoption
(we didn't have test tubes and the rest
then) and well even in the early sixties there was something
Scandalous about adopting
Telling the world your secret failure
Bringing up an alien child
Who knew what it would turn out to be?

But I wanted a baby badly
Didn't need to come from my womb
Or his seed for me to love it
And I had sisters who looked just like me
Didn't need carbon copy features
Blueprints for generations
It was my baby a baby a baby I wanted

So I watched my child grow
Always the first to hear her in the night
All this umbilical knot business is
Nonsense-the men can afford deeper sleeps
That's all.
I listened to hear her talk And when she did I heard my voice under hers And now some of her mannerisms Crack me up All them stories could have really had me Believing unless you are breast fed You'll never be close and the rest My daughter's warmth spills over me Leaves a gap When she's gone I think of her mother.
She remembers how I read her All those newspaper and magazine Cuttings about adoption She says her head's an encyclopedia Of sob stories: the ones that were never Told and committed suicide on their wedding nights I always believed in the telling anyhow You can't keep something like that secret I wanted her to think of her other mother Out there thinking that child I had will be Eight today nine today all the way up to God knows when.
I told my daughter; I bet your mother's never missed your birthday How could she Now when people say ah but It's not like having your own child though is it I say of course it is what else is it She's my child I have brought her up Told her stories wept at losses Laughed at her pleasures she is mine.
Yes.
Well maybe that is why I don't Like all this talk about her being black I brought her up as my own As I would any other child Colour matters to the nuttters But she says my daughter says It matters to her.
I suppose there would have been things I couldn't have understood with any child We knew she was coloured They told us they had no babies at first And I chanced to say it didn't matter What colour it was and then they Said oh well are you sure in that case We have a baby for you To think she wasn't even thought of as a baby! My baby my baby.



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