Grandma likes to re-purpose.
She once gave me a calendar from 1987,
Featuring photos of tractors,
In case it would come in handy.
It did not.
She has several mismatched teapots,
Yet she only likes coffee
And her garage is full of half-upholstered chairs.
Plump money plants and bright orchids,
Lining her windowsills,
Jostle with dusty cacti which make me sneeze,
So we must sit outside together , escaping the clutter,
Waiting for spring to arrive.
Rain drips from her gutters and the garden ferns
As she presses a rusty tin into my hands that once held fudge,
Because I’ll never know when I might need it.
I keep it as a reminder of these damp days.
I followed you
To make a new life for us,
Which was a gamble,
Although I never take risks
And I wish I hadn’t.
I gave up what I had
Now I start again from nothing,
Nobody knows me, or cares to,
In this lonely place,
And I wish I had stayed behind.
I still listen to your breathing
Try to time it with mine:
In-hold, two, three- and out, two, three, and four
I realise that I still love you
But sometimes I wish I didn’t.
If my wishes could carry me away
We would float off
Quietly, in the night,
Where I would sleep alone without thinking of you
For a while.
Each one is a small surprise.
When will it open?
Bursting into a flower,
Dripping with butter
With salt, or sugar, or both:
Timing it just right
To cook, but not burn them all,
A tricky balance.
But I’m willing to practise:
Poured into a bowl,
Popcorn makes film night complete!
She pours the water into the jug
But, distracted, she forgets to stop and it keeps running until it overflows,
Drops cascading down the smooth glass sides and pooling onto the table.
After mopping the puddle up she goes to talk
Just wishing to answer a question, but she says too much and the words spill out,
Covering the carpet in jumbled shapes.
She goes to pick them up, pink with embarrassment,
Unable to take them back fully.
Silence then presses down on her, threatening to yawn open and swallow her whole.
It never rains, but it pours:
We all know that.
Cloaked now in cloying drizzle
From grey rain-clouds,
One thing after another
Goes wrong for us.
We look ahead to blue skies,
Clinging to hope.
While we are waiting, we change,
Get used to rain,
We put our umbrellas up,
Our faces down.
And when things work out later,
For that they will,
Good luck never shone so bright
In our tired eyes.
We swing together, side by side.
Our feet are up the air
Until they block out the sun above us.
You are too big now
For me to push you.
You want to do it your own way,
Like I taught you:
Push your legs out,
Once you are off the ground,
Then tuck them back under.
Legs straight, then bent,
Straight, bent, straight, bent.
I am so glad you can do things for yourself
More and more everyday.
That is what I am here for, after all.
But it is also hard
To be less needed,
Soon you will no longer believe my silly lies
Like my chocolate is only for grown ups
And the park is closed in the early mornings
When it is raining.
One day we will not play together on these swings at all.
But at the moment
It is time for the seesaw
Which remains, for now,
A game for the both of us.
The road to hell is paved
With desires such as yours:
To love me as much as I love you.
I can tell you want to love me more,
More than you really do,
But it is not something you can force.
Love is not squeezed out of the soul
Like a tube of glue
Or that last bit of toothpaste.
We both know that.
Now we have a voice within us
Telling us we are not enough.