The Thing She Said.

Of all the wonderful things
my mother said,
her final words meant most.

She was sat in her kitchen.
Stick thin,
cigarette in.

A touch of Hollywood still.

She only had days left
She worked it out.
She had to pass it on.

A route for living.
Before the dying.

Her eyes set upon mine,
fierce with love.
She lifted a glass of wine.

Heavy as all the years.
like blood.

‘Go live your life,
try to do everything.
Don’t stop!’

It’s two years on now.
Where do I start?


Body World.

She is slender
a sheet, millimetres thick.
Beautiful as polished agate.

Bones of leaf and deeper green.
Marbled salmon muscle,
straw-yellow fat. The brain is cut

from stem to cortex in coronal section:
a slice of walnut, spreading lichen,
a Rorschach blot.

Bladder, stomach, uterus,
white vacancies. Lungs and liver
the red-brown shades of earth.

Framing the cavity of her chest
a black line of sawn-through ribs.
Off-centre, the dark heart.