#Fridayflash Woman-Son


When the woman had the baby boy she lay him down to sleep. He held her finger in his fist

She roars him into being. He emerges from the earth in unbridled anger, consternation.

The moon hung in velvet.

The clock was a cheap one bought in a pound store. It tock ticked. Then it stopped.

They set time by the supping of the animal at the breast. He scampered into the forest of moments mewling.

Later they repose in a pond, a black hole. Moments float in opening Os, then go.

He lay on the length of her and kept his cheek against hers. So he kept breathing, cherub breaths whishing against skin.

The boy climbed into her ear and out of her mouth. He hung claw fingered from her breasts like one of Adam’s monkeys.

He toddled, piston armed

He held her patience, love, hope, sanity, confidence, energy, fear, relief in his fist

He strode, broad shouldered

He climbed the ladder of his being. He went above her, reached for things, handed them back down.

He lay along the length of her and put his cheek against hers. So she kept breathing, cooling breaths wheezing, skin in angst.

Later they repose in a pond, a black hole. Moments float in opening Os, then go.

They loosed time by concentration on puzzles. She wandered into the forest of memories mumbling.

It was a grandfather clock. Ponderous pendulum. It never stopped.

The sun spun in silk.

The blood of men spills into the earth, a field of white headstones endures

She held his fingers lastly in her fist. He laid his mother to rest.

21 thoughts on “#Fridayflash Woman-Son

  1. claireking

    I’ve just read this four times. It’s not enough. I’ll be back…
    This, by the way, is wonderful: “He climbed the ladder of his being. He went above her, reached for things, handed them back down.”

  2. Simply stunning Alison, you never cease to amaze with what you do with language and cadences,

    From the cheap toy clock on the nursery that gives up the ghost to a ‘ponderous pendulum’ of a grandfather clock – a life lived & metered out.


  3. soesposito

    Just beautiful. A whole lifetime of mother and son encased in your prose. As a mom of boys, this makes me ache and want to stop time.

  4. Deanna Schrayer

    Wow indeed! That about sums it up quite well.
    I have two boys too, both in their tweenage years, so of course this makes me want to stop that clock.
    I love the way you used ‘tock-ticked’ instead of the cliched ‘tick-tocked’, as well as the rest. And to fit an entire lifetime (two) in so few words – brilliant! Just love it!

  5. alisonwells

    Ahh, thanks for your comments. I have 3 boys (and a girl) . This, of course is an eternal theme. There is this sense of forever letting go, from life towards inevitable death, of the child from inside the womb to the world, from interdependence to independence, of people from each other. Then the war of birth and the horror of boys gone to war, the stretching love of the mother who feels the pull from inside the chest always. So much more to be said, just skimmed here but perhaps that’s sometimes the best way.

  6. Lyrical. Fabulously written story and it does take you full circle. Not everyone has the life experience to write something like this but anyone who reads it could appreciate the message.

  7. Travis King

    o_0 . . . Ow. First Penny Goring’s “Hexing the Sexing” and now this. My head hurts. BUT in a very GOOD way.

    Is poetry acceptable for #fridayflash because this is poetry, and some fine poetry at that–and yet, it’s a story. And I don’t mean it’s just a poem that narrates events, but it’s an actual story with lyrical properties, reminiscent of tales from myth and legend. There’s a primordial, soul-stirring, mind-bending, quality here.

    I know psychologists would have us believe that rationality is a vertical evolutionary spectrum with pre-rationality at the bottom and meta-rationality the ultimate attainment, but I think that it’s the other way round: We’re not born lacking the higher skills and slowly attaining them as we mature; we’re born with the most important and useful form of awareness and cognition, and we then lose it, or at least allow it to be subsumed by more rational modes of thought that are cultivated by society. So, it’s truly a compliment when I say that ‘Woman-Son’ is exquisitely pre-rational.

    Thank you for making me think and, even more importantly, unthink, both at once.

    1. alisonwells

      What an extraordinarily wonderful comment, especially since as a psychology graduate I am fabulously interested in how we construct our reality etc etc. And yet….as a full-time mother (and I’ve said this before), especially of young children, I have this sense of being the (primordial?) mud. There’s a high level of physicality, (the epitome of which is breastfeeding) and dealing with raw, untempered emotion both in the children and in myself. Each day is a journey through created structures, household rules, interplays, societal norms, our own ‘values’ but we do this while our feet are still entrenched in the primordial or as you say pre-rational ‘goo’. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to make such a considered comment.

  8. alisonwells

    Forgot to say it wasn’t intentionally poetry and wasn’t sure what it was when it came out but people have seen it as such. Also Yes Penny Goring, such an amazing writer and piece.

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