A date with my mother & Aquafit
[ poetry - december 12 ]
A date with my mother
I know it is against all of the
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:
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
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.’
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.