Legs slide over the edge of bed

Trousers pulled on

Shirt begin to button

Inside the fold of her skirt I suddenly sit

Sit in my home

In the maze of the fabric I am searching for her

Lost, alone

Button my shirt

Birthing me she dressed me for life

Laying my head on her breast

I remember too the soft cheek

But these pleats engulf me now

Deeper into the folds

She is there walking alone

On swollen knees

Scarping the wall to brick in anger

Dancing lightly on her toes

I pull a jumper over my head

Blinded I am in her darkness

I hide from the promises

We speak of her safety

Of the company she needs

Would she leave me alone?


There are places that a child should never see

Secret folds of skin

The first place I saw in life

The spaces between us should be kept

The raw red sore beneath

And then

The crystalline sound of aluminium foil

Pushed through

In variety of shapes, sizes, colours


Damian Hirst shelf in my mother’s kitchen

Aspirin to dissolve

The pill pouch like the folds of her tummy

Needed simple care

I stroke her forehead

She is hot

I am feverish

She makes me smile

The glass of water, cold

For these moments all life and death are here

All memories are condensed into this dead of night

We wait the life of morning

There are lives of carers that we do not want to live

You can see too much as you try to fix things

And all the past is wiped clean in that sight

It is the nudity that shows the helplessness of flesh

That you cannot walk by

There can be a gown which flips open

There can be unanswerable questions repeated

And slowly all surfaces are covered

With crayon landscapes and the walls become paper

The frontiers of the world close in

The meaning of a cardigan recedes into the impenetrable

It is a skirt

I can wear it as a skirt

What is a skirt?

I feel my anger rising, why can’t you understand?

I snap

I am angry at the impenetrable

The crystalline sound of aluminium relieves

Until it doesn’t

I cannot be here now seeing this naked body needing care

I cannot fix this

I see the veins strain in her swollen knee

Her legs that carried me

I embrace her and want to see her covered up

Her face so familiar I cannot describe it

The lines of my life in each fold

I cradle it now in my hands

“If you love me let me die”

There are places that a child should never see.


She is free

She is cycling

Her skirts fly

She laughs

She is a girl

She lies down

Listens to the RAF bombs

She is escaping

She is wearing her apron

Packing cakes

Giving birth

She is doing the accounts

Colouring her hair

Replacing our garden fence

She is the soul

She watches her husband die

Slowly in their bed

He is cold

She watches her daughter die

More slowly in the hospital bed

Without losing faith

She holds it all

She is the sun

She fades in twilight

She sits in church and cries

Making her hand bleed

She remembers how to dance

She is on her bike

She is free