I go to mum’s – and it’s all as it ever was –
a ‘nothing much’ salad salmon supper,
only her faffing double-speed round her new octogenarian
man and what she does is what she did for dad.
Gone those few forced years of independence.
I listen to the hooks, the way they’ve settled in,
their natter seems like bicker. In love,
hers is the need to serve; a vortex,
she spins about him, moves heaven and earth.
I want to say, ‘It’s enough now Mother, to just ‘be’
no need to lose yourself in the other.’ But what is that?
To be ourselves, for her, for anyone alone
is far too hard. She clears the plates. He hasn’t moved.
Her mission’s done through gifts of food.
NOVEMBER 2018 Paul Deaton MONK