Demeter Doesn’t Know Why by Liùsaidh

Issue 4

Cora, twenty, wants her lover to hurt her —
Tie her up in sexual situations.
No idea why my daughter should want this
I worry for her.

She subjects herself to . . . what kind of folks? My
Feelings for my daughter swing in extremes, for
when she’s passed his door, well, he might go crazy!
(She’s at his mercy

Even if she uses her so-called safe word.)
How could this experience ever be healthy,
Positive? That man she’s around is evil —
Why does she need him?

Wonder what I’ve done to her in her childhood?
Fault’s my own, some error in her upbringing —
That’s it, right? — It must be the way I raised her,
(Craving a flogging,

No idea what else.) I want to accept her,
Yet I can’t believe my daughter would do this
Can a woman living this sort of lifestyle
Ever have hopes for

Decent marriage? Deviant. Can’t she see it?
Cora doesn’t live in a vacuum, and your
Children’s conduct do reflect on the family
How dare she do this?

When I challenged her, she told me she’d stop it
Give him up, and all that they do together
Ring-gags, found when snooping, told me her words were
lip service only.

Friends and neighbours, once they find out about it
All good people — they’d just run screaming from her
Cora doesn’t fit respectable boxes
Now that she’s separate.

Overwhelmed by sadness caused by betrayal.
Wake at night, the thoughts of my daughter churning.
Let’s not start on how it’s ruined my sex life —
God how I hate her.

Cora’s smart, attending a Cambridge College,
tops her class, does well in her education.
We, her parents, struggle to pay tuition
it’s so expensive!

Are we wasting, then, our time and our money?
How can someone do this and be successful
when they’re hiding secrets, threats to their parent’s
values, wellbeing?

Well, of course, she knows there’s this wall between us —
Understands I don’t accept her behaviour —
I do try to hide the fact I hate her.
Sexual choices.

Never understood why she was so distant,
Now I do, and nothing more could be clearer,
She should know how much I love all my kids, I
Need to protect them.

Understand. I’m not a bad mum, I know it
Children were the centre of my existence —
Gave up my career to bring them up rightly —
I’m dedicated.

Oh, my god. She hates herself when she visits,
For she knows how much her lifestyle betrays me
How she loathes me, when that bad crowd she’s in with
tell her she’s normal!

If it’s normal, why not tell folks about it?
Why her need to hide her dark dirty secrets?
God in heaven, maybe she’s told the neighbours
And they won’t tell me?

Maybe I should tell her goodbye forever
Never see my daughter ever again. Right?
What a perfectly horrible situation,
how can she do this?

How can someone treat their family members
In this way? I hope her doctors can help her.
Therapy. She’s going. At least that’s something.
Won’t tell me why, though.

Source text: Accessed Nov 11, 2015

Liùsaidh is a poet and author from the West of Scotland. Writing from a crack-ridden council estate, the poems are always strange. You can find them online and in print, most recently in Unlost Journal, and The Ghazal Page.