I have been told
aches will not be the sign

touch is required
I will feel
the enemy, that horrid invader
deadly lover

my mother’s mother
my mother’s sister
knew its touch
my father’s father
my father’s brother

smelt its breath
breast to breast
it leapt, like lightning
from inner gnawing to outer eye
all along our blood’s line

forking like a fault line
across concrete foundations;
every window in the house
cracks wide

where is the sign?

my mother becomes wilfully blind
an ostrich matriarch
who will not feather her finger
along a breast,
scared to find
the mark of the beast

I am suspended in her disbelief

I imagine a long line of dominoes stretch behind us
she will be the last to fall
knock me down with her death’s blow