Laura Potts – But then parts of you

are dead. I sent the world a postcard from a fusty

window that said

I am wearing my grief.

Sling clothes into the bin: your socks, your skirts,

the notebook in the pocket of the moth-eaten dress;

pearls, perfume,

that locket – yes – the one etched with that lover’s name

you would never speak, but traced with warmer words

in the tepid curls

of firelight. Death in his Sunday finery asleep in the hall.

I call. Mother. Hear you still singing while washing

the dishes.

Now. Minds do many things. Canteen food garden gate

passing-bells rings. A wind slips beneath the door and

I hear you humming,

a voice swollen with the years of rolled-up sleeves

and tired eyes. The cries of a child at its mother’s knee.


I remember Wordsworth, Tennyson, Keats, dripping

from your tongue in a terminal bed. Mother, I said,

forty years from

the child in your arms. There are parts of you dead.

Bottle and Bible. Now this is pleasurable. Somewhere

on the other side of the night I am hearing you say

The fields are alive

when the moon is bowed. Your name is stirring

in the trees and is gone. No. Look what you’re doing.

Look at me now.



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