She used to tell me I'd catch my death, leaving my hair wet.
She'd make fish cakes in cases of orange breadcrumbs.
Walk me home from PVA smelling art classes. Then one day she had to
Rest before home.
She would play cribbage and beat us all, winning hundreds of Scottish pounds.
She'd take us brass rubbing in the alleys of Edinburgh.
And I'd embellish
Originals with unicorns.
Thick and hard shortbread,
No match for false teeth.
Crawl into her bed in the first light and feel her
Dry paper feet next to mine.
There, she'd tell me stories in her hairnet.
She was given a huge brass bell from the orphanage
Where she was Cook.
She gave so much and made no fuss,
'Ah, din ni bother!'
Now my hair hangs wet
All the time.
The brass rubbing shop has closed
And I've no one to lose at crib to.
Paper skin ashed away on Salisbury Craggs.
But I have her in my face and hands
Spitting Image - so they said
At the funeral.
Stiff Scottish lips and not much room for tears.
But that was just a day,
Grief does not answer to calendars.
It can wait in tucked away memories, until
Ready to to be undone. Aired and worn.
A history I don't really know but may yet find in myself.
Death is not always loud and determined.
It can be
Messy, like spreading paint on a clean floor.
Trodden in and about.
A withering end,
Dispersed to a stop.
Means not the end.
Bell on shelf, ready to
Ring out her strength,
The echoes resounding in me.