A Poem…

For My Son, Walking Home from School Alone for the First Time. 18th June 2014



Today the boy will walk home alone

Here begins the shock of dissolving

The mother glue

The boy whose body I protected


Defended from suggestions to


Held fast despite dire predictions

Then born, waxed like an apple

Squalling and strong

For 11 years the instinct

Gut pure and keen-bladed

Parrying snarks and criticisms

Of too boisterous, too clinging, too big, too small

That sticky hand, those sharp little teeth, curls and sturdy feet

Is almost as tall as me

Has moods, his own tastes and opinions

Is kind and thoughtful


And has decided he’d like to walk home alone

Today begins the slow shock of dissolving

The mother glue

Reduced to enquiring about quantities of food ingested, sleep clocked, happiness enjoyed

Momentous though no bells ring

Only an ache and the skin crawl dread of knives, bad men, the stampede of traffic

Sudden loss.


A Wounding extract for Mother’s Day…


The large clock on the wall in the sitting room marks out time. Cora sits on the sofa, a book open in her lap. The house is quiet: empty. She is supposed to enjoy this emptiness, revel in the depths of the peace, the space, as if it were a hot spring she could sink herself into. As her husband left the house with the children he kissed her and said,

         ‘Have a little time to yourself, Darling. It’ll do you good. Perhaps open a bottle of wine or something. Go for a walk, watch a film. We’ll be back around seven…Ok, take care. We love you.’

         Sitting there, she feels time should open up before her, as if a gate were thrown wide revealing an expanse that she could disappear inside, but it doesn’t. It closes off, constricts as sure as a snare. They have gone for the day, he has driven them over to his sister’s house, where they will play with their cousins, shouting, dirty-faced yelps of excitement, running garden dirt through his patient sister’s house; she is a doting mother, their aunt, her sister-in-law. His parents will be there – the grandparents, the heads of the family. There will be absolute harmony. She won’t be missed, she is sure of that.

         Everything is demarcated, a territory, a place, the family, love, even sex. All relationships are territorial, marked off, divided from all the others, outsiders, instating privacy. There is no such thing as time only geometry, topography, the delineation of words, shared interests, history. The only unity Cora can understand is spatial. She consists of spaces, gaps between matter, she slips between time. She takes up space on the sofa. Breathing.