She let the young woman open the door for her,
but instead of entering the room, she stood
rooted in the hall, her weight on the walker.
‘He’s here again,’ she said,
her words a mere whisper.
‘Who’s here?’ the young woman asked her,
and ‘Where is he?’ she said,
knowing and not wanting to know,
unable to stop herself
from asking the questions.
Behind them a trolley of meds rolled past,
propelled by a white smock
and a practised smile.
In the distance a youthful laugh
and a clatter of trays.
‘He’s here,’ she said, ‘in the corner,’
and raising a hand to point,
she swayed in the chemical air.
‘There’s nobody there, Mother,’ the young woman said,
her arm crossing over the bony shoulders.
‘He’s there,’ the old woman barked,
turning her head, glaring with dead eyes.
‘I’m not afraid of you,’ the old woman added,
and she jabbed the young woman in her rib
with punishing strength.