Juleus Ghunta

Mother Suffered From Memories

When she was fourteen
she fled Kendal on a market truck to Kingston.

The night blew air in her wounds.

She forgave grandma, then a single mother of six,
who fed her children with one hand
while choking them with the other.

The day her practised palm cracked my cheekbone,
I crawled into grief.

When I blamed her for my inability to love,
she reminded me of “the simple brokenness of [everybody]…
[the] lie of mothering…things we can’t rely on….”

These days her knees are falling apart
from years of bending to raise us up into dreams.

I no longer seek penitence for the beatings,
shaming, neglect–

mother suffered from memories.

The quote comes from Kwame Dawes’ poem Mother and Child.

Juleus Ghunta is a Jamaican poet and recipient of a Chevening Scholarship. He recently earned an MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, UK. Ghunta’s poetry has appeared in several journals including The Missing Slate, Moko, Spillway, Chiron Review, Cordite 81: New Caribbean Writing, and In This Breadfruit Kingdom. He was awarded the Catherine James Poetry Prize by Interviewing the Caribbean in 2017. In 2015 and 2016 he was shortlisted for the Small Axe Poetry Prize. His picture book, Tata and the Big Bad Bull, was published by CaribbeanReads in May 2018 and launched in June 2018 at Bradford Literature Festival, UK. He is currently finalising the manuscript for his second picture book, Rohan Bullkin Learns to Read.