Tiny Acts of Revenge


The blue and white pot glares disapprovingly at me from the mantle.  In death, in ashes, as in life, my mother has the power to make me feel inadequate.

“Bury me in the ground.  I don’t want to be burnt to a crisp and sit cooped up in some urn on a mantlepiece!”  She imagined herself marching steadfastly into the afterlife, intact and all limbs where they should be, hatted, gloved, and handbag slung over her left elbow.  She’s a fearsome woman, my mother.  Is.  Was.  No, is.  She’s still giving somebody gyp for not behaving the way she thinks they ought to.  Right now, that somebody feels like me.

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The Other Side

She wakes with a start.  The air feels stale and cold.  In the darkness, she fumbles for the bedside lamp, and jostles the bottle of whisky that stands vigil.  Night must have fallen while she was asleep.  The gentle click of the lamp reverberates in the silent room, but there’s no light.  The power must be out.  The sheets are crumpled from her thrashing body, a glass lies shattered on the floor, an empty pill bottle, the lone warrior, in the midst of the shards.

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