nthposition online magazine

A date with my mother & Aquafit

by Jonathan Edwards

[ poetry - december 12 ]

A date with my mother

I know it is against all of the rules,
but I never had two dates that went so well,
so I ask you out again, this time for dinner.

You’re my mother as a young woman: bell-bottom jeans,
the ringlets I’ve seen in photos of your wedding.
When the wine list comes, you order a pint of bitter,

then run your tongue along a liquorice Rizla.
Coming back from the toilet, I almost catch you
stowing away the waiter’s telephone number.

It’s years before you’ll lose my sister to cancer.
When I talk about my father, you say, ‘Too serious.
We’ve been out twice and he wants to marry me.’

It’s then I want to ask what I’m here to ask:
if I told you now how it would all turn out,
would you still go through with it? But Twist ‘n’ Shout

is blasting out: you grab my hand, kick off your heels,
as you always will do when I am a child
in the kitchen, yelling, ‘Jon, just follow me –

just put your feet wherever I put mine.’

 

Aquafit

Mondays. 7pm.
The ladies sink into the pool,
chat of their parents’ health, their daughters’ work.
Their bathing suits are holding something back.

Squat thrusts and shuttle runs:
they walk in the water.
The instructress stands above them like a billboard,
mimicking them: ‘And right, and left, and…’

In the men’s changing room,
a boy in council uniform
sweeps the dregs of shampoo to the drain.
From the pool come love songs.