By Breda Spaight
My mother, forty-five – another child,
opens the door to Nurse Begley, all smiles
and too much pine air freshener. I had forgotten
how beautiful her face is, rinsed with innocence,
like she’s brand new, as though under a spell.
And her hair like a moonlit lake – black
with silver ripples. I get nervous when her voice
becomes high pitched, like she’s about to sing
or scream; talking about her bowels
as though she shares the secret of her days
when she does not get up, nights she ignores
the baby’s cry. Whatever life she had is over:
soda bread cooling on the window, nappies boiling
in the pot. The story she tells of my birth in this house,
how Mrs Hayes from over the road was there to help.
She talks and talks, stares long into Nurse Begley’s face,
her eyes wide as a swimmer’s who realises
they’re out too far. I worry she’ll choke mid-word,
will clutch Nurse Begley and pull her down, curl into her
like a child, in the cooling rays of the sun.