Saturday, 21 May 2016

Next door

I will remember you
The way you collected things
like I collect things
The cards and the memories
The religious keepsakes
Except you believed.

I’d always buy you angels.
A month ago, I found one I forgot to send at Christmas.
Next Christmas, I’d thought.

Every Easter,
Looking for a card with meaning
As I knew it meant something to you
And you meant something to me.

Do you remember all the times you helped me move house?
Carrying lampshades and cushions
With your packed lunch
and your Special Brew
You’d always ask for a posh glass.

Lost again with mum on the way home.
Another tale to tell.

Before that, were summers stretched out like decades
Crisps in the cupboard in your dining room
Cutting the grass in your garden
Your son was a brother to my brothers.

I remember you in bright purple
your clip on earrings
with glasses before your surgery.
That was classic Margaret.

I remember your sense of humour
How fucking blunt you were.
You knew your own mind
You were strong and kind
With no time for self-pity.

Your husband was killed the year I was born.
He has been dead as long as I’ve been alive.
I must have reminded you.

Did you know that you took us in on the worst day of my life?
You were there for me
For us
For my whole family.
You never cared who was right or wrong
You never took a side
You were the last person on earth
We all liked.

I’ll drive your car, now mine, to your funeral.

Still with the Virgin Mary on the dashboard
Still with St Christopher tied to the lighter.

And me
who has never believed in anything
I hope you got there.


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