In the mix

On the Sunday my mother gets pneumonia,
the Yorkshire puddings still need making.
I take four heaps of flour using the big spoon
up to her bedroom for approval.

Illness clutters the bedside table,
tablets, Vick, the kitchen clock
that’s usually downstairs in the daytime.
Crack the eggs, just enough milk.
Her eyes glint like wet glass.

I imagine myself cooking on telly -
brash like Fanny Craddock,
I tumble flour into liquid, flaunt
my fork, circle and cut, circle and cut.

There’s a thickness to the batter
that can’t be taught. I take it again
for her to feel. She wants to use
the flat of her hand. I stand there,
try not to touch her nightdress,
damp, done up to the throat.

I poke a tongue of lard into each tin,
she shouts down wait until it spits.
Half-one and they’re in from the pub,
sitting at the kitchen table
with straight backs and expectations.

The puddings are golden, on time, hollow.
I take hers up on a tray. She’s sleeping.


 Commended in York Mix Poetry Competition 2014


Wings, Planes and Weather Vanes

Huddled in seasonal plumage
we move into the slipstream of slow traffic,
join the migration to lakes and frozen valleys.
I peck fretfully at your foibles,
you preen a little in the rear view mirror.
The weather vane points North.

Some plane’s vapour maps a route
in the other direction to a warmer winter.
It’s all a matter of personal choice.
A magpie stiffens its wings,
marks the space between us,
makes like a crucifix or a blessing.