Before dementia, with its cruel mercy
freed her from those golden bonds
of obligations and relationships
(the chilling question, and so carefully expressed
during the morning wash and powdering,
‘are we… related…?)
she’d carefully destroyed
all the photos of her family;
while leaving all her husband’s…
what did that mean, to that so loving daughter…?
What shames can those who love, so cherish
as some further goad ?
But she forgot, now that she slept downstairs
the photo of the grandfather whom I never met
(he died too early, of dread ‘cotton lung’);
flat, at the bottom of her dressing-table drawer..
he in full Freemason’s aproned proud regalia
of Hope Lodge nearby Hope Street; nearby hope…
So now, he, on the wardrobe top
and I flat on the bed
gaze at each other in unshaped relationship
with our two views of her; so totally at odds;
except, except, for love;
she, immortal like that holy Maid herself,
girl-mother in our shared sweet thoughts;
out of mind but never out of mind.