love, lise

United States


Message from Writer

i write about emotions a lot (especially death and loss) and literally none of it is from personal experience. im just dramatic. honestly. so if i post something particularly sad or something, u dont have to comfort me. many ppl have and its very sweet!! but im fine fr

my mother the monster

January 15, 2021


My mother is a woman of love. 

The scriptures say love is fierce, and that’s the best description of my mother I have found so far. 

She’s a carefully wrapped package of love and ferocity, a balanced scale of things that drive her to protect and provide for us the way she has. 

My mother wakes up with the sun every morning to fix a table of three breakfast plates, two glasses of juice and one mug of freshly ground coffee; she slips on her woolen slippers and makes the rounds, opening all the window blinds, collecting dried laundry off the racks on the patio just outside the kitchen window, waking my brother and I for our breakfast. 

When we split our skin in gruesome games of baseball and the dangerous rules we concoct in our bored heads, she takes our bleeding limbs in her hands and tells the other to boil a small pot of water and to fetch her sewing thread. She wasted no time in teaching me how to boil the thread until it was clean enough to stitch someone back together, when my brother fell out of our apple tree and the skin of his forehead parted like the ocean waves for moses and i cupped my hands underneath it, collecting my very own red sea, my mother said, “boil the water as i would, fetch my needles and thread. You’re going to sew him up.” and I did.

My mother is a woman of love, and the scriptures say love is honest. 

“I never loved your father, so you don’t need to either.” my mother says in an act of love that most likely spared me of the long nights i might have had— nights spent crying over a man who put me down in the hospital bassinet and told the nurses that he wouldn’t return. 

When my aunt came to visit with her children, older than my brother and i, and my cousin brought his girlfriend, my mother observed her in the living room for the first hour of their visit then told me, “Fetch me my blanket.” and I did, knowing what was coming. 

My mother’s blanket protects her from the world, it is the single outer wall she puts up with her many inner ones, when she’s about to do something with repercussions she needs to be protected from. She laid the blanket on her lap and cupped the golden ring she always wore on her right hand, inherited from my maternal grandmother before she passed, many years before my brother and I were born. 

“This woman is not right for you.” she told my cousin in an act of honest love. 

“But if you think she is, take my ring and put it on her finger in the courthouse when you’re ready. I want to see that.” and she did; my cousin married his first girlfriend in a courthouse when he was nineteen. She wore my mother’s ring until they pulled her corpse from the tangles of the water roots at the mouth of the bay, only a handful of months after she had a baby. The undertaker dropped the ring in my mother’s hand solemnly, and she took it and tucked it into the baby’s hand while it was asleep against my cousins chest.

My mother was a rough woman, a woman of fierce love and painful truths, and she held my brother and i close to her every night before bed. I remember the feeling of her skeleton digging into mine every night, and the scent of her lavender soap. I remember these things. 

I remember the things my mother did for us when we were little, I won’t forget how she kneaded us like unshaped loaves of bread, before the world could harden us. 
She taught me to love in her fierce and honest way, and now the world that has hardened me says that holy scriptures say love is gentle and kind. My mother didn’t teach us that love. 

My mother is not gentle or kind, she isn’t patient or forgiving. My mother is all I have.

When I was seven, my brother was four and we strung a barn rope in the apple tree to swing on. I crawled through the branches of the tree while my mother cooked dinner, i fastened knots while she chopped onions, I was just barely out of sight. 
The swing stayed up the entire summer, we swung from it everyday, and when my mother asked who hung it, I clapped my hand over my brother’s mouth and said the neighbor boy did it for us. I prayed my knots were strong. 

“He hung you a noose.” she said. 

My mother went to work everyday to keep juice in our glasses at breakfast. 

I mended our clothes with the same spool of thread that we boiled over and over again; I sewed moth bites like I used to sew my brother’s skin closed. When he rubbed holes into the toes of his shoes, I stitched them closed like how I stitched his forehead. 

My mother went to work everyday so that in the summer she could buy us a watermelon. It would sit on our counter like a heap of jewels in a treasure box, until it was ripe enough to slice into. 

When I was seven, the swing hung in the tree from June until the day we cut into the watermelon. 

I watched my mother carefully stack the pile of rinds my brother and I left on the counter and carry them to the trash bin; they toppled out of her hands as she opened the lid of the bin and I slid off my stool to help her collect them.

My mother, a woman of fierce and honest love, sponged the pink juice off of the tile floor slowly, tired from her day of work. Then she called for my brother. 

“Boy?” she called, gripping the doorframe to right herself, sponge in hand. Just barely out of sight, my brother swung on the swing. 

When I tell you about those years I tell you about my mother. 

My mother is a woman of fierce and honest love. I don’t remember much of my brother. 

Of my brother, I remember stitching his skin closed and patching his shoes. I remember the soft brown tufts of hair that stuck out over his ears, I remember knowing that he had a loud voice, but not what it sounded like. 

He was a boy of love; fierce, honest love. 

I remember the way my mother screamed, I remember the sound of her running across the tile floor. I remember her fingers sifting through my brother’s brown hair as she desperately tugged on the rope around his neck. I remember the neighbor boy’s father driving him and my mother away from me in his red pickup truck. 

She called from the hospital only once, not to tell me to boil the thread or fetch her her blanket. “Cut down the swing.” she said. That was all. 

When I was seven, I watched the neighbor boy shimmy his way up the trunk of our apple tree, for the first time in his life, and hack away at the barn rope with a pocket knife. 

The day after my brother was buried in the town cemetery beside our father, the neighbor boy and his father came with their big saws and took the tree down. 

I remember how the apples fell from the branches as they loaded the wooden arms that once loved me into the bed of the truck to take away forever. The next day, the neighbor’s wife set an apple pie to cool on her window sill. 

My mother is a woman of love. When I was seven years old, she sat me down at the kitchen table, a breakfast for two set. I remember dipping my fingers into the water droplets that slid down the side of the single glass of apple juice. 

“Your knots were weak.” she told me. “Go fetch me my blanket.” 

I remember the sound of my bare feet running across the tile floor. I remember how she set her blanket over her lap, putting up her single outer wall to accompany the many mental ones she never took down. She needed protection, but I was the only thing in the room. 

“Do you remember how to sew?” she asked. 

“Yes.” I told her. “Do you remember how to cook stew? How to clean the house and floors?” she asked, tilting her face away from me. 

“Do you remember how to slice a watermelon?” and I did. I won’t ever forget. 

“Good.” she said. “You don’t need me now.” 

When I was seven years old, the neighbor boy helped me load my suitcase into the bed of his father’s truck. He gave me his hand to help me into the cab to sit between him and his father. That day, I was the apple tree. I was the bundle of branches loaded up to be taken away forever. 

There are two things that tree and I will always have in common: we killed my brother when he was only four years old, and because of that, my mother didn’t want us anymore. 

My mother is a woman of love; fierce, honest love. Unkind love, a rough love. I haven’t seen her since I was seven years old, but she is all I have.


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  • January 15, 2021 - 3:34pm (Now Viewing)

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  • cloudi (kind of inactive 'cause of some... stuff)

    oh wow... this is- i cant even find words to describe it. you tell the story so that everyone who reads it will be moved to tears (i certainly was.) this is absolutely amazing and the raw emotion in this piece is incredible...

    about 1 month ago
  • Rose A

    Wow. I was not expecting that. This is amazing, and you have left me shaking too. Well done.

    about 2 months ago
  • amaryllis

    oh... this is beautiful. I never saw the end coming.

    about 2 months ago
  • Zinniav

    That was intense, exquisite. I am still shaking.

    about 2 months ago
  • bunnybeige

    ...oh wow.
    this..this piece is masterful, seriously, it's everything i can't put in a writing piece. but i would be careful - since suicide is prevalent in this piece, it could be taken down by the admins.

    about 2 months ago