For Rita Bonny
I thought I’d found solace in your being still alive,
Still walking, sometimes shakily,
Still breathing, sometimes with a rattle.
False assurances seemed essential
Having watched your mind evaporate
Into a series of repeated questions
And uncertain recollections.
With the realisation that I no longer held a place with you
Most optimistic expectations took a hit.
But still, in a room with a carer
Desperately trying to make conversation,
When you looked from her to me
And rolled your eyes
And resumed watching the television
I had to smile.
At least for now I have my own memories;
Childhood summers, eclairs and cakes,
The smell of loose leaf tea,
Tracing the faded diamond design in the carpet
From the front door, behind the armchairs,
Up to the pea-green curtains.
I remember, just above the honeydew melons,
Kept in their amber dish upon the window ledge,
Watching a wasp, caught on the wrong side of the glass,
Tapping incessantly against a force it didn’t understand
Until it tired and landing
Lay in the gentle summer sun
That shone in through the window.