In the morning she was mother again,
breakfasting gaily on the remaining quarter bottle,
whilst you trekked to the shop,
a disgruntled waiter sent to distant cellars.
Don’t desert me held you hostage.
As she worried at the past,
you listened for the first slurred syllables
that made you want to slap her.
By early afternoon she swayed to the drink’s rhythm,
fancying a bowl of instant mash with marmite
that knocked her out like a boxer’s punch.
The lodger took the second watch.
When she tallied each empty with a triumphant
That’s another one, he eyed her
over cigarettes and tea with grim intentions,
until the oaths and blows in the early hours.
Rescue arrived in the dark miracle of a lump.
Dismissing interference in her body’s plans,
your mother toasted the exit cancer offered.

Fiona Sinclair

If you have any comments on this poem, Fiona Sinclair would be pleased to hear from you.