The Distance Between


if time was a kindly two-way lane
I’d turn my laden truck around and speed toward the East,
blanking the maggoty road-kill that festers yet
on the tracks of your pickled yesteryears

your needle pricks
your blood and spit
your flinging tantrums
bunching fists
stealthy falsehoods
blatant tricks
the wars you fought with phonic swords fast-honed on flowing tears;
your armies marched to split my walls
which let in gales of filth and fear
leaving me in defeat
with nothing to eat but the waste from the streets.
You grinned while I choked on the gruesome mince
as if I was having a treat
but your smile couldn’t hide the spin of your mind
or the pit beneath your feet

driving in a straight line until your skin is smooth,
accelerating to let my lorry leap the fall,
then lifting my toes for the peaks of the show.

Never leaving the road,
I would pursue my goal
until I nestled the warm weight of my youngest child,
you, my only son,
your arms enveloping my neck,
fresh-formed fingers hooking my hair,
finding my ear lobes,
nose pressing my throat,
your caress needy,
like a thief or a breast-fed cub,
your possessive caress
enfolding me
in that heavenly rush
of motherly

Your caress,
your sweet, owning caress
would be my destination,
and the things I know
would sink in an ocean of parental ecstasy.

But time is not a two-way lane;
it’s a taut chain that leads forward
to obscurity, obliterating diamonds in its wake.
If I concentrate
I can synthesise a fleeting sensation of the elation
brought by each childish embrace;
a hint of silver that glitters
beneath the skin of a silted stream,
yet I cannot feel your breath on my neck
or the texture
of your skin warming mine,
and linear time
has no way to erase
the mistakes of the distance between.

My son is currently banished from my life, but I hold him in my heart. I will not capitulate and I will forge forward in life, but I grieve for him and hope that one day he will return to the family that loves him.

©Jane Paterson Basil

16 thoughts on “The Distance Between

  1. Jane, I think this one is a masterpiece. I’m feeling an impulse to bow before it as if it itself were human. It is gripping me as if I’m face to face with you, it’s author.

    That’s my considered opinion. But my first, raw thought was what you had paid for it, what it had cost you to compose it, and, most importantly, whether you’re alright?.

    I could go through it line by line — nearly every line is soaked and dyed with such meaning,
    such power, and beauty, I could write volumes going through it in detail.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m OK, Paul. I think you missed the drama between my son and I, which exploded a few weeks ago. Not that I wrote all that much about it. It’s the reason I haven’t written – or communicated in any way – much lately. His last attack on me resulted in bail conditions for him which banned him from any contact with me. After the court case a restraining order will be put in place.

      Thank you for your high praise of this piece.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My Jane. You may have an unbearable severance again, but he has never left my supplications and never will. You know I weep for you all. But you and your loved ones are keeping me alive so I can go on praying for Anton

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to hear from you, Anton. For a while I thought we’d lost you, You have restored my faltering faith. Now I know that all is as well as it could be. Laura sends her love, as do I xxx Jane


    1. Thank you, Raili. My life has its highs and lows, but I am grateful for all the good things it contains. We had a wonderful family day out yesterday. Obviously, Paul wasn’t with us, but it still felt right – he has been absent in so many ways for so many years, and he wouldn’t have fitted in with my two sons-in-law, who kept wandering off together, deep in manly conversation.

      Paul seems to be living in the courtroom at the moment, but I’m not sure if the public order case is going to be heard. The police haven’t contacted me recently.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. feel your pain and and love here, you are both in my prayers but grieving someone who is still alive is more than tough. Can hear your hope that he will change but he hasn’t yet … please take back your power. He is now responsible for all his actions and words, nobody, especially his mother can change him now. He needs to hit rock bottom and want it from his own side but doesn’t sound like he’s interested …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. from everything I’ve heard he seems to be taking the right steps! But you’re right. It’s up to him now. I’m not grieving so much now. Getting used to the changes and feeling the benefits – which are huge!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I am – really. I have my family, my friends, my charity work, support group and so on. I’m keeping myself busy and have been clearing all his stuff out of my flat – except the little paper pig. But as my domestic abuse support worker pointed out today I’d be a pretty crappy mother if I didn’t care about him. One of the things we do Families anonymous is to try to live better lives ‘despite unsolved difficulties’. We never pretend that our children’s addictions are anything less than unsolved difficulties. Rest assured that I’m following good advice and keeping on top of things.

          Liked by 1 person

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