A Gathering of Sisters


Save me from distant relations

tossing herbs and spices, sand-blasting

old quarrels. Don’t

stop me screaming. I can’t

wail at home, the walls are thin

the neighbours would complain.


I keep my head down.

A block of silence breathes above me

in a house that has tasted of cinnamon

all day long.

Jo looks uncomfortable in black

her skin damp with sun cream.


Three of us in Sally’s naked front room

ice cubes rattle in long glasses

Sally is high on a trestle

dressed in mahogany

and ivory silk

wearing make-up she’d hate.


She sleeps like a drunken memory

as Chris Rea seeps through the yellow passage

crawls up our spines.

When I loved Jo’s husband

her lips settled into square hills

and I was removed from all else.


Now Jo smiles,

‘You’ve put on weight’

She looks, and sounds, like our mother

has grown extra arms to fold.

We fill our eyes with each other, knowing

that Sally was the last reason to meet.


The End

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