This is not my mother.
Yesterday, yes,
But not today.
She, my mother, would have looked upon herself
Saying ‘How peaceful,
How wonderful in death.
Younger and so serene,
Smiling.’
But this is no smile, mother,
Just a trick of the body
Settling in for the long haul.

Mother you would have found comfort in this:
We were all there.
No one cried much or made a fuss.
Everyone did the right thing.
Us,
Your sons, knelt and stood, knelt and stood.
Shook hands and organised.
No rage or anger at your loss,
No immodest signs of grief.
I did not tear the coffin lid,
Or throw myself across the grave.

In South America we would have wailed;
Cursed the heavens and called on nature to explain,
Beat our breasts and ripped our shirts,
Crawled on the earth.
But not here.
Here we have lost a different kind of mother
Who expected a great deal of her sons.
Who expected nothing less than the cutting away
Of all emotion
Like a cancer.