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Poem of the Week: 'My Mother Moves Into Adolescence' by Deborah Alma

Posted on April 05, 2016 by Yen-Yen Lu | 0 comments

My Mother Moves Into Adolescence

My mother comes round with my star signs
a thin apple pie, shop bought,
that no-one will want, and the Daily Mail.
We say thank you.
The boys kiss her and go upstairs.

She presents me with six things:


You must sort out my breakdown for my car Debbie
because my English is bad.
I get the leaflet, circle the right policy, hand it back to her.


Where must I buy a new front door?
I say B&Q? Homebase? I said that before, Mum.
She waits for me to offer to measure it and take her.

I put the kettle on.


Where do I find man to fit new door?
I tell her I don't know, Mum,
look in the Yellow Pages?
She waits for me to get the Yellow Pages.
I get her a piece of cake with her tea.
Just a thin piece... chorti... chorti...
She eats a large piece, noisily. 


Where do I find man to fit carpet?
The Yellow Pages, Mum?
Where do I look under?
Carpet Fitters, Mum.


You must show me where to write email to Aleem.
I show her.


I need you write letter to estate agent.
I can't do it today, Mum.
You are so lazy Debbie! she screams.
All her rage spits out.
She throws her mug into the sink and it shatters there.

I liked that green mug with the spots,
from Woolworths.
There is no more Woolworths.
terribly, unbearably sad 
that there is no Woolworths,
I tell her to go and never come back. 




I had the pleasure of interviewing Deborah Alma when her debut pamphlet True Tales of the Countryside was first published in November last year. This poem comes from that collection (and was first published in The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood). She uses a light touch to convey a comical tone as well as underlying tension throughout this poem, ending on a moment of tragic realisation felt by both the narrator and the reader: there is no more Woolworths.

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