my mother sits on the step looking out
at her garden. My mother is named

for a herb and likes to talk and talk
about everything and nothing––

from which poets read The Golden
Bough to that man in Covent Garden

who collects golliwogs. Everything
is a piece of some larger and endless

subject. My mother volunteers
in charity shops and delivers

food to people who live alone.
My mother lives alone

and won’t talk about herself.
She points at one flower

in a pot, says “That’s from
Gran’s garden. I took the seeds

after she died. She’d taken them
from her gran’s garden.”

I have lived in her house
most of my life and she’d never

told me that. She says it quietly
and quickly changes

the subject as if to tuck this small
detail away, between politics

and neighbourhood gossip,
as if trying to bury it

among the life
of everything else.


From Magma 83




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