A dead mother gave me life, the source for my
Bewilderment, my imagination, my language derived from
Death and everything that grows from it.
Icons of death, I created, as my mother created, you could call it
Vicious circles, monstrosities, I call it love for all uncradled obscurities within and without us.
I had faith in the fruits of death, I thought that I could
Endure and nurture the blossoming of everything doomed
Degenerate and decadent. Love made me a thief, love made him
An oath-breaker. We found each other again, in darkness, resurfacing
The light that rose high between us both and nobody could see.
There had been worlds within us, between us, and we voyaged through
Them like ghosts, in love, introspection, there had been so much language
And prosperity, we wandered across endless inner lives where we never lost each other.
They had expulsed us, loathed our bodies together, the real world had been poor.
We focused on what brought us together, the invisible force that feeds us all over centuries.
Did I owe something to her? Your first wife, I think of her and try not to
Put myself in her shoes. Love is honest, the circumstances are anything but.
And I think of my mother. What do women do to each other? And men?
Did I do something to her? She rarely crossed my mind, I followed my heart
Everywhere I went, could I be wrong? Hurting her was not on my mind.
And then it happened, I had been given love, and death claimed
My daughter, stole her violently from my motherly embrace.
I got to feel the weight of the other side. Would I have consented to
Exchange my life for hers? Your first wife dedicated herself to her
Self-murder, -what could be salvaged-, we married.
I thought of us as resilient, as functional islands, where life
And death walk hand in hand, but then two other children
Of ours died and I felt absorbed. Did I curse my womanhood?
My unreached motherhood? Two malfunctioning bodies that cannot
Coexist? I questioned the universe, my growth, why did I matter then?
What did I give birth to? A son, he carries you and an Italian city in his name, and he survived.
And then I found you deceased, drowned, taken away from me.
My hands empty, my heart a dry sponge, too much, too much, eradicating water.
Italy had been our dream, not just mine, I went back to a life I had rejected.
A brain tumour infested the body part where all my life had taken place
And he drew a miniature from my dead face and immortalised it along with the words I
Had given to the world that would starve me if I wouldn’t feed it.
“Portrait of Mary Shelley” by Richard Rothwell (1800-1868)