Finding The Right Words
Last visit to my friend as she succumbs to ovarian cancer
She is propped up with cushions,
Robinson’s lemon barley water
on a tray beside her,
polo mints spilling from a packet.
I sit on the sofa next to her,
handing her my gift.
She fumbles with the TV remote;
a huge cartoon dog is dashing
across the technicolour screen,
I pass her the silver-framed photo;
the two of us at primary school,
broad grins and NHS glasses,
all gappy teeth and optimism.
She startles as a bird flies into
the window; clutches me tightly…
I draw back, shocked by
her fragility; stick arms like bird’s legs,
breath wreaking of sulphur
What to say next….?
Maybe she senses my hesitance?
Tears well up in her puffy eyes,
once her best feature.
We had a wonderful childhood, she says,
shifting position, catching the remote;
the TV blares, frantic like the cartoon dog.
Shall I make us tea?
My voice is shaky.
She nods, attempting a weak smile.
I fight back the tears, but once in the kitchen
the flood gates open.
Please, just keep going a little while longer…
But I know in my heart of hearts I have to let her go
Maybe this is our last afternoon together…….?
Bios And Links
Margaret has been s/listed for several poetry prizes and won the Hedgehog Press collection competition 2020. She has two poetry collections, a memoir in Haibun form (May 20.) Published online and in print, most recently: Hedgehog Press, The Blue Nib, Impspired, & forthcoming in Sarasvati and Dreich. New pamphlet ‘Earth Magicke’ out with Impspired Press May 2021.
Instagram : meggiepoet
Facebook Author Page: Facebook.com/margaretbrowningroyall