Domestic Abuse, Childhood, Mother, Daughter, Poem, Nikki Giovanni, Father, Married, Crying, Healing, Relationships, Trauma, Mental Health

I Married My Mother

The poem ‘I Married My Mother’ from the book A Good Cry by Nikki Giovanni expresses how Giovanni learned to cry in her 70s. Having lived a full life, she realized that she could at long last reflect back on her experience and let go, knowing that she’d made it through all her hardships and succeeded. She talks of crying as a skill and recounts her tumultuous childhood family dynamic with her abusive father. Ultimately, Giovanni believes that she would have been a far more suitable spouse to her mother than her father was, and she buys a house which her father proceeds to live in under her rules. Finally, her mother is given the care and love that she deserves, due to the control that Giovanni was able to take in the situation.

I know crying
Is a skill
I automatically wipe
My eyes even though I know
Crying
Is a skill

Maybe I will learn
My mother did
When she thought
I was asleep
I think my sister did
Sleep
But sleep is as difficult
To me as crying
I laugh easily
And I smile
And withhold any true
Feelings
Except once I fell in love
With my eighth grade teacher
And spent most of my life trying
To feel safe
Again
Though maybe I’m safe
Now

After almost thirty years
Which is as long
As I lived with my mother

Maybe that’s not a poem
Maybe that’s something else
Maybe I just wanted to show my father
That he needn’t be
Cruel
Maybe I just enjoyed buying
The house he had to live in
Showing her she should have married
Me instead of him
Or maybe we all will soon
Be gone
I should be happy I found
My mother in someone
Else who loves me

What else
Really matters

Image Credit:
Feature: HollyEma at Flickr, some rights reserved, Creative Commons