In The Queue


I know it’s not actually my mother

Standing close enough to touch

Some granite with two dates gouged out

In Wales confirms as much


It’s someone else’s mother

She looks just like mine though

So in a queue-induced reverie

I rehearse how our chat might go


Once I’ve expressed my surprise

That she’s still alive and fine

We laugh at the coincidence of being

In the same post office line


We talk and talk and talk

As we progress along the queue

I’m happy, writing for a living

Like I know you’d hoped to do


I’m married to that boyfriend

Whose name you found amusing

And, in the way the world is now,

It’s not his surname which I’m using


It still only takes a bar of Pearl’s A Singer

A chord or two of Fiddler’s Dram

And Kildare Terrace, 1982

With you, is where I am

I tell my children all about you

And with any luck

They’ll be passing on your mantra

That pardon’s worse than f**k 


If you’d been around longer

I wonder what sort of person I might be

If there’d be any difference in

A more fully-mothered me


We’ll never know, she says

Please tell me about the others

So I impart all that I know

Of my sister and my brothers


Life feels a little stalled right now

While I’m temporarily beached

In that maternal,filial hinterland

A place you never reached


A life’s as long as it’s meant to be

She says. It is what it is.

Now, I need to buy my stamps

But I’m glad we spoke like this.

So we said goodbye, again,

We embraced and then we kissed

I want to scream at her retreating form:

Just look at what you’ve missed




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