Untitled / Villanelle

by Gail McConnell

I have often longed to see my mother in the doorway. – Grace Paley

Because having a father made me want a father. – Sandra Newman

I have often longed to see my mother
tap-dance in a top hat like she did before he died –
having (had) a father made me want a father.

A mather / madder / mether is a measure
that keeps its shape & holds what’s stored inside –
I           often               see my mother.

Mistype the word it stretches to a fother
(a cartload carries fodder, hitched outside) –
                  a father made me.

You come to know the one against the other.
You measure till the meanings coincide.
I have often longed to see my father.

My mother’s mother died before her daughter was a mother.
Alone, she gave me all she could provide –
(not) having a father made me want (to be) a father.

What am I to you? Mother? Father? Neither?
Like cells, names split & double, unified.
I have often longed to              mother
mother father fother mather matherfother fothermather