Standing by the light of the kitchen window
You’d inspect your mother’s face.

Ugly sproutings only show
In certain light. Thick. Black. Coarse.

Her face pinched
As your tweezered nails plucked.

Then you returned to gouging
The eyes out of potatoes

And you both would laugh
And gossip and smoke.


As a child you placed me
In front of the mirror,

Brushed my tats into silk.
Tugged at tails I didn’t want.

Pulled hands away when I stuck
Fingers in to soothe my scalp

Then parcelled me up with ribbon
And sent me off to school.


Sitting beside each other
I drive you home from town.

Over the Albert Bridge
A ball of birds swells into plumes.

You turn to me and marvel
At their timing, at the merge of them.

The low sun catches your jaw. I see
The glint of a strand that would horrify you.

We are not ready.
I let it grow.