The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
2008 Crabbe Memorial Competition - Third Prize
You tell me how you still play bridge and visit.
I know you don't. You've no incentive now.
Since Mum has died, you've lost your zest for living
and meeting people is a strain somehow.
At first you went out shopping every morning,
although you needed far less than you bought,
but now your fifty tins of prunes have dwindled
to twenty and you're panicking you're short.
You've built a routine that's become your lifeline
and interruptions get you sidetracked, stressed,
yet still you struggle through your piles of junk mail,
which means it may be twelve before you're dressed.
You find the details on your bills quite baffling,
You closely read the lines — and in between.
" 'Adjusted units? Calorific values?'
I'll pay but what the devil does it mean?"
You diarise to have your lawn mown weekly;
(the last six weeks have been a searing drought)
to have your hair cut monthly, though you have none,
and fret which bins you should be putting out.
I am aware the last thing that you want is
to separate from memories of Mum.
The past surrounds you. It's your only comfort.
Its where you live. The present's wearisome.
Each time we part, I want to take you with me
and you refuse to come but don't explain.
I realize you dread to be uprooted
but must I leave you here alone again?
Copyright © Kathleen Adkins 2008