Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mom as Fly

Perhaps mothers are underappreciated. Perhaps this is a good poem for Mother's Day.

This poem comes from the recent issue of The New Yorker. It caught my eye based on title alone. I really like the metaphor of a mother as a fly. It's genius. They hover, there are so many of them, they seem pesty, they may annoy you a lot, but they are necessary (the food chain would be all off without them).

Here is the poem:

Mom as Fly

by Terese Svobada

A fly with a human head
heads for your screen. It's Mom,
toting groceries and laundry

way too tiny. An interruption in scoring.
But first score a bill worth
the trouble. Mom! A twenty?

The fly mounts the monitor
and notes the debt to education
remains unpaid.

But past midnight theorems
are not her thing. Way faux,
as in eternal, those problems.

She hand-rubs. You crush her,
forgetting anguish might lead to food.
No buzz to you equals a fast connection,

where all relationships worship
the math, holy Pythagorean. But you
don't have the millions of eyes

she had to watch over something.
What was that something?
Your hands drift to a pimple.

Could it be?
Dad decks you bad,
the triangle so over.

Hm. I feel like there are parts of this that I understand, and parts of this that I might not understand. I understand the mother/child component. The mother hovers. The mother provides and does motherly duties yet the child is still bothered by her. The mother has much more experience and knows more than the child (represented by having many eyes), yet the child doesn't want to accept that or acknowledge it.

The child is also involved in some sort of math. It is brought up a few times in the poem. Is the child doing his/her homework? Why the math connection? And why does dad show up at the end and in such a negative way ("decks him/her bad")? Why is dad mentioned once while mom is the center of the poem? Mom seems to care and try, yet the child squashes her. The one who isn't around and doesn't seem to care, dad, is hardly represented until the end. I wonder...

I really do think the metaphor is smart though. Mom as Fly. Very cool idea for a poem.

So, what do you think of "Mom as Fly?"


Diane said...

I know that I'm your fly!!

Diane said...

I know that I'm your fly!