A poem to tide you over

A couple of people have gently commented that I haven’t posted anything for a while, so I thought I’d give you something to keep you going. I’ve got a few things coming up – announcements about events for Poetry Day (August 23rd this year), the Canterbury Poets’ Collective readings (just got the funding – yay!) and a couple more close readings to add to the Commentaries section. But it won’t be for another week or two, as I’m still up to my eyebrows in reading and so on for the classes I’m teaching on Nobel Laureates – it’s been wonderful, but sooooooo much more work than is usually needed. I think I’m going to offer it again later in the year, maybe as Sunday sessions, so I can make the most of it. (If this sounds like you, sign up to the class mailing list!) But all that is for later. Today I thought I’d post an old piece. This is actually the first haibun I ever wrote. Confession time: I had planned to post this poem for Mother’s Day, but got distracted. (Sorry mum!) Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.

Shoulder Reconstruction

She is home from the hospital – right arm strapped to her side and across her chest, immovable. The empty right sleeve of her shirt swaying like a metronome, setting the tempo as she walks gingerly across the muddy lawn and up the steps to the house.

home at last –
greeting the dog
wrong handed

Three times a day I have to undo the straps and carefully straighten her arm, easing it against the spasms of muscle cramp. Lurid paisley bruises cover her chest, and a tiny line of stitches march millipede fashion across her collarbone. For ten minutes, three times a day, she has to remain motionless.

the third time
today –
that same cryptic crossword

Neither of us is ready for this role reversal. Not knowing where to look as I give her a sponge bath, trying to remain impersonal and unembarrassed as I soap her breasts, her nipples becoming erect in the cross draft from the door as I pat her dry … silly. I am the age she was when she gave birth to me.

washing
my mother’s breasts –
we both giggle

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