All entries for Sunday 20 June 2010

June 20, 2010

The Waiting Game

The Waiting Game

1

Childbirth smells like anti-septic,
and tastes, for some
like gin and tonic.

Her nails pierce the mattress,
her mouth fills with saliva.

“Push, yes that’s it...”

She’d always been so terribly punctual
(terribly, because it was ruining her life,
hours wasted being early)
and it was so typical
for her first child
to keep her waiting.

2

“She’s stupid, I’ve given birth to a stupid child...”

Truly, she didn’t mean it,
but she found it unlikely
the repetition of “Dodo”
was the first sign
of her daughters penchant for zoology.

She offered her an apology
in the shape of chocolate yoghurt.
The smears never came out of the carpet,
tears a futile stain-remover.

“Say something... please, say something for mummy.”

A quizzical look,
and tiny fingers wipe away saline outbursts
and offer dessert in the crater of a petite palm.

“Yoh-urt Mummy?”

3

The sound of heels in the porch
was as joyous as that first wail
from newly-born lungs.

She conceals her happiness however
behind the yells.

“It’s 3am, where the hell have you been?”

The worst thoughts had tormented her sleep,
the worst possible conclusions,
not even worth mentioning.

Yet innocence prevails
in that apologetic, yet nonchalant smile,
before innocence vomits across hallway tiles.

4

Twelve cups of tea
made waiting for the bathroom
slightly difficult.

It was the nerves,
curtain-twitching, nail-biting, postman-scorning
nerves.

The metal clatter of the letter box,
footsteps down the stairs,
crying... blissful crying.

A place, to study veterinary science
(not zoology)
at university.

Two hundred miles away.

“I’m so proud of you, but wait before you accept...”

Eighteen years waiting to not to be a parent
came too soon
landing on the doormat
as though out of the blue,
as though it wasn’t expected
as though there was a God
who answered Mother’s pleas

“Don’t let her pass...”

5

“It’s just cold feet, he’ll be here baby, I promise”

Tears in a chapel,
the photographer yawning,
pictures of the happy couple
looking less and less likely.

“Your Father was nervous too!”

“He left you on your honeymoon!”

She takes the punch to her pride
as daughterly love,
screams as the car pulls up
and sobs the whole way through the ceremony.

Push-pineapple-up-a-tree,
a Grease medley,
made bearable for the chance
to stand on her son-in-law’s foot
when he offers his new Mother a dance.

6

The hospital years:
baby scans and miscarriages.
A redundant womb waiting to be a Mother,
a Mother waiting to be a Granny,
interrupted by out of date magazines,
“It will never happen to me”
and a room full of coughing OAPS.

A daughter thinking
“Is Mum really that old? She can’t be.”

A letter from the hospital
confirms the wretched news,
“It will never happen to me”
swallowed like a bitter pill.

7

Waiting for the curtain to touch in the middle,
she tries to stand up and rip them down
but the little girl next to her holds her hand.

“Will I never see Grandma?”

She doesn’t answer
but nods
and cries
and smiles,
knowing she will,
but it will be a long wait yet.


Question 9, Part B

Love hearts in biro stain your weak efforts
Already sealed and stamped with a large ‘F’
Shakespeare mocks you and Einstein simply points,
Naked likes in an exam hall fool you.
You regurgitate equations and toast.
Your education starts to taste sour
And everyone stares with red pen in hand
Legs are shaking – anticipate the grade.
Your failure of a Mother downs her fifth
And the babies scream out for some comfort.
A hundred teenage pores drip with worry.
Life is an essay awaiting judgement,
Why bother? No one marks it anyway.


June 2010

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