For my mother with love
The conjuror behind closed doors, she mine,
me hers, she scrubs our mangled family life
starch-white; stems tears, irons creases out, darns holes;
small miracles – makes money stretch the week.
Her present tense is all I know and we
are doted on, consumes her too, except
she talks, obsessively with age, the friend
she met at school and worked with till she wed.
Good Catholic girls and ballroom all the rage,
their petticoats’ live bubbles in champagne,
they soar as light as air. The tenor sax
outplays his luck – she’s got enough to go
professional. Bait, line and hook she shies
from at the time sustains her all her days.