The Bond

Listen to Rachel Hadas reading this poem. The tact, the decorum, the gradual distancing of parents and growing children in their delicate dance of disengagement

tugs, repels both sides. By twelve or so
I could see clearly that my mother
preferred her best friend’s company to mine,

but I moved past this pothole on the long
road of adolescent self-absorption,
so that by the time my mother died

and this same friend of hers could not conceal
her grief, but even more, her disappointment
that I, the daughter, should be such a dog

in the manger of the living, while her dear
friend was nowhere to be found—I think
I understood. I even sympathized.

This double memory helps me now I see
my son turn to his friends first, not to me,
as for that matter I turn first to mine,

not that the bond between
mother and daughter, mother and son
fails to pull taut every now and then,
and twang, and hum.