Canned Peaches After Twelve

When her shift finished I would find my mother in the kitchen, eating breakfast after midnight;

A stack of pancakes, undersides browned by an oily pan,

Next to a tin of peaches, or perhaps pears, in their sugary juice.

But then she did so many things backwards;

She would shower before she went out to work in the garden

So that she could really enjoy getting covered in dirt

As she hummed, kneeling in the flowerbeds, touching every plant with her fingertips.

She refused to wear black to funerals, or at any other time, because it didn’t suit her pale skin,

And she went back to school once I turned eighteen

Where she learnt how to paint with a palette knife.

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