by Sheila Jacob
I ignored escape routes and wedged myself
on the train for a two-hour journey, caught
a bus to my mother’s house then another
to the hospital where she lay angry and afraid.
Why I had taken so long, chosen
the wrong set of teeth from her bedroom
and bought spearmint sweets not peppermints?
Go and fetch them she scolded and I sobbed
at her bedside; ached with the fatigue
of daughtering; with the weight of mothering
the woman who’d carried me yet clung,
bird-frail and bewildered, to my coat-sleeve.
When she recovered I cried at the miracle.
On her ninetieth birthday she called me Darling,
arranged festive flowers in a cut-glass vase
and unwrapped my gift of a cameo brooch.
She pinned it on her blouse, said she’d keep it
for special occasions and we stepped outside,
ambled round her lawn as though we’d always
walked arm in arm and deep in conversation.
* * * * *
Sheila Jacob lives in North Wales with her husband. She was born and raised in Birmingham, England, and enjoys writing about her working-class ‘50’s and ‘60’s childhood. Her poems have been published in a number of U.K. magazines and poetry websites. She has recently self-published a small collection of poems dedicated to her Dad who died when she was fourteen.