by Mary Kendall
Your attributes, little Mary.
A long list.
No one liked you.
Except for me.
Not true. There were others.
Your sweet Indian Ayah, who fed you,
washed you, dressed you, taught you,
tolerated your contrary ways, angry words,
miserable frown. She held you close,
rocked you after nightmares and dark dreams,
fanned you in the hot Indian summers.
She sang to you—mellifluous, soothing songs.
Your mother denied your existence, hid you away from view,
just as later, you’d find your cousin Colin, hidden away, too.
What damage it did.
What pain it caused.
Like a plant held too long in a small pot,
its roots pot-bound and crippled,
Colin, unwanted and denied like you.
My family separated when I was just five,