‘For once in my life,’
she says, ‘on my empty feet.’
‘For once in my life
give me something’
and looks at me with yearning,
bland old eyes.
‘I’ve never had
not once, not once!’ she shouts
but the sentence scoots away
before she can struggle with it.

‘I just need a vimsin tripe,’
she says, putting teabags in the toilet
quite surprised
to find cheese sweating in the biscuit tin
the Nescafé jar full of water.

‘You need a rest
you’re my daughter,’
she smiles and tells an inside joke
that ends instead in tears.
She shuts all doors and windows.
She’d lose the keys if she was given them.
Her hard-held territory
full of unidentified badmen
who jeer, nod and disappear.

She stares in the mirror
adjusts her glasses
a drawer full of oddments at her feet.
She needs a decade
to sort through all she has collected.
‘I can’t with my fat head,’ she cries.

‘It’s no good.
It’s folded up — a damn shame.
Look at me!
I used to be a young girl.’
Her voice fades. She leans one elbow
on her bed, quite conversational.
She peers at me over a pinnacle of handbags.
‘I’ve lost everything now,’ she says.

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