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The Eternal Matriarch

Claire Dooley

Vancouver, Canada

Templeton Secondary School


CAS for Database

It's a strange sight to see on a Sunday night.

My mother and I on the couch

eating crushed glass from a bowl that sits

on the cushion between us.

We take turns reaching long fingertips

to scoop up open shards and

swallow them through lips


We never touch.

We never will again.

It is a dance best performed

with no one watching.


Two generations of blood

sit still for long enough that

the rough love couch molds itself into us, so

we will be remembered

as a pair of far-fetched bodies in

one place.

My tongue becomes a

wasp sting,

with nothing to distract itself from

how lonely it is in maternal silence.

Time goes on.

Our desperate, reaching fingers are

no longer an act of movement,

but an act of staying solid enough for touch

to still be a thing to avoid.

Years pass on this Sunday night.


I get up first and leave quietly

out the back door.

She doesn't ask when I'll be home.

In some small corner of my mind,

I hear her humming,

listening to Joni Mitchell

while she washes up.


The Eternal Matriarch is gushing with gore. “My mother and I on the couch eating crushed glass” infuses a sense of discomfort in the reader that intensifies as the piece unfolds.

Claire Dooley is a 17-year-old student at Templeton Secondary School in Vancouver, Canada. She will be graduating in 2020. Writing is one of her greatest passions. She loves being able to show people what the inside of her brain looks like.


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