When they took Mum to hospital
her face was yellow, belly swollen
tight as a bloody drum, dad said
on the phone. It was mid-April
and I watched the laburnum’s
grey-green leaves being ruffled
by the wind. Just for a few tests,
he said. I sat on the sofa, dopey
with tramadol; the last daffodils
had shrivelled brown; blackbirds
fussed around ivy so overgrown
the fence tilted under its weight.
Don’t go worrying. Women wearing
white salwar kamiz carried bowls
of curry and rice from house to house.
He said she knows you can’t come.
Sharon retired from her career in education in 2015 and started learning to write poems. Her work has most recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in The High Window, Amaryllis, Three Drops from a Cauldron and Words for the Wild
Green fields moss-stitched with beet or fuzzed
this seat taken the service to London Waterloo
with shoots of winter wheat copper leaves on forest
finish your drink our next station good for you
floors sky bleached to old denim by February sun
behave what’s this dump don’t flush while seated
greendark cuttings dazzle of silver frosted roofs
hello on the train mind your fingers relax
flint-grey platforms splatted white with cockle
suspicious items I can’t help already said that
shells of chewing gum and gobs of pigeon shit
information have a sandwich in all carriages
yellow brick terraces rusty cars in wreckers’ yards
want a roll it’s a small town kill my husband
metal-clad office blocks with art deco curves
too damp dadada see a show have a drink
building sites where bony cranes pause to confer
get lost arriving at I don’t know what to do.
Sharon is retired and lives in Dorset. Her poems have been published on websites including Ink, Sweat and Tears, Algebra of Owls and Snakeskin.
Mum saw snowflakes fall in the ward
the night before she died. Snowflakes,
she said, or they might be sparkles
falling like snowflakes. Can you
see them over there? she asked,
it’s not right. You’ve got to tell them.
Tell them about your father. How
he shouts at me. They think he’s
a hero. He won’t come when I call.
He says I’m a nuisance. Help me.
I thought of how he’d whistle for her
when he wanted food or drink.
How trapped she’d felt. How
carefully he’d loved her
the time that she broke down.
Can you see the snowflakes? she asked,
so I fiddled with the oxygen tubes
and tried to find an answer
and she stared at the snowflakes
that sparkled in the hospital night.
Sharon retired in 2015 after a career in education and started to write poems and stories again, after a break of forty years. She lives in Dorset with her husband, two dogs and two cats and is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing. Her poems have been published in Three Drops from a Cauldron and Snakeskin.