Exit Daughter

Diane Mulholland (London, UK)

Helen Ivory: E
ssentially I think, about a daughter educating herself and then leaving home. The way the poem does that is by following a complete yet surreal logic that reminded me a little of Ivor Cutler’s sung poems about family. ‘He kept The Complete Works of Shakespeare / underneath this armchair, in place of the missing leg. / Whenever she wanted to read it / she had to prop it up with her own small head.

 

 

Exit Daughter

 

He kept The Complete Works of Shakespeare

underneath his armchair, in place of the missing leg.

Whenever she wanted to read it

she had to prop up the chair with her own small head

which was exactly the same size.

It amused her

as she lay sideways and studied each drama in turn,

to cast him in the role of Lear or Brabantio.

For herself, she never chose

a dramatic ending.

 

Over time, her own small head filled up

on the contents of the book. One was exchanged

for the other and she could leave it in its place.

And so she did.

On second thoughts, back she went

and fetched it. Just in case.

Later, we find him sprawling on the floor, cursing

at the fickleness of daughters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 poem © Diane Mulholland