Your mum lives in the brown leather case
under the stairs.
She wears your grandma's christening shawl,          
shuffles through
old buttons and dead coins.

Folds and unfolds
birth certificates, driving licenses.
Flicks through your childhood,
straightens your skirt,
brushes ginger locks in faded photographs.

Tonight we hear
the sound of hot pipes belching.
The old gate outside kicks
us to sleep
and I hear the distant scratching
of cold fingers against leather.

One of these nights I swear
she's gonna rip
open that old trunk, come staggering
up the stairs - waving
your Aunt Mary's blue pen knife.
Because I know she'd hate you
loving somebody like me.

Paul Henry

If you've any comments on this poem, Paul Henry would be pleased to hear from you.

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