At the End of the Day – A Poem by Kerry Darbishire

IceFloe Press

At the End of the Day


The smell of vanilla and honey now gone,
her hands, her skin worn to thinnest cloth
embroidered blue, the one she threw

like a fluttering sky across the evening table,
laughing clear as a vim-scrubbed sink

telling us about her day:

the delivery of pineapple ice-cream, cones
and wafers, sweets for the shop counter
we were allowed to stack, her batch of scones

and cakes all sold to passers-by. And late
after the last walkers had drained their cups
and left her garden of birdsong and river turning gold,

we had her back, back to ourselves.
I was eleven, my brother growing stupid
for girls, my sister already engaged –

those warm evenings before we were swept away
my mother breathing the sweet scent
of stories and rhymes

to carry me to the stars line by line
only to wake to afternoons turning pages

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