Difficult week.

Monday evening
mother died,
Thursday morning.

Stark choice.
With him,
not her.

Then Friday, Saturday,
Sunday, Monday.

Every day full
of their absence.

Especially my husband’s.

Swollen with memories,
I manage to fill the house,
and garden,


Mug without a Handle

Around me couples go to the pictures,
away on holiday,
plan for the grandchildren’s visit,
shop together.

I’m like a mug without a handle,
my long relationship with you
snapped off.

People throw damaged china away,
but not me.
I have a mug like that in my cupboard,
useful for leftovers in the fridge,
for beating eggs.

Always at my side
will be the mark of
where we were attached.

But now I can be held differently.


We to I

We to I.

Our to my.

Concentration’s needed.
Sometimes a “we” slips out, not an “I”,
an “our” instead of a “my”.

It happens, say, when I show new friends
round house and garden. “We’ve got photovoltaics
on the workshop roof . . . we used to have a lawn at the front”.

Easier when I’m out,
chatting to strangers,
“I live near the bus stop,
my house, my garden, my car”.

How can they know?
I wear no wedding ring now.


Early Morning Intimacy

I like lying in bed and talking.
The best place.

Held within your arm, my head on your shoulder,
the safety and ease of gaze into your warm body,
up at your face, towards the ceiling,
adjusting positions and touch
to match the flow of our chat.

We did a lot of it, waking together each morning.

Since you died, my conversations have taken place
on opposite chairs in kitchens and cafes,
side by side on many sofas,
bodies dressed and separate.

Usually in social hours,
planned in advance.


Soup or Scrambled Egg

All the decisions are mine now.

Soup or scrambled egg,
holidays, car insurance,
whether to build a downstairs loo and shower room,
how to spend every single moment
of every precious day.

Unfettered, uncompanioned,
unchallenged, unshared.

Freedom to be lonely in,
or to enjoy.

My choice,
every single moment
of every precious day.


Unaccustomed Space

We had found the beauty of ordinariness,
living in a semi, bus stop outside,
library down the road.

Now the bed beside me is flat,
the dining chair opposite empty,
I sit in the driver’s seat in the car,
lie across the whole sofa,
move freely round the kitchen,
no you at the sink blocking the light.

everywhere space.
and stillness.

At first, I didn’t want it.

Now I have learnt to
fill it,
enjoy it.


Missing Witness

What would you think
if you were to come back now,
and see how I am living without you?
How I look, feel, what I radiate?

What would you think of
my lifestyle, my friends,
how I parent our daughters?

What would you think of
the ways I have changed
the house, your shed,
the motor-bike workshop,
the garden, the allotment?

All is mine now to do with as I please,
but I really would value your comments,
helping me see it all from your perspective.

So it’s not just you I miss,
life partner, co-parent,
daily companion,
it’s you as witness,
reflecting, challenging.
We did that for each other.

You don’t need me now, I assume,
but sometimes I could do with you.


Lost Memories

Remembering our past there are big gaps,
lost memories, that you are not here to help me find.

We would have prompted each other,
pieced it together, my bit, your bit, making the whole.

Now, when I look back I see less, only part of what was.

In losing you, I lose my past.


Communities Go Too

My mother died.

I lost my regular contact
with the home, my relationships
with the wonderful managers, the team,
chats with other residents,
all so uplifting.

My husband died.

I lost my time with his friends,
traffic through the house
and motor-bike workshop,
cups of tea,
easy talk,
interesting encounters.


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