My brother rang me in Bangkok where I had placed a prayer wheel on the altar of the golden Buddha lit incense in that foreign space hoping for some efficacy and any gamble worth a try

Continue ReadingFor My Mother

I have no right to this grief. That is what I’ve been told over and over again by those of my family who are the most qualified to know. After all I was only two when she died. I have no memory of her face, her voice, the warmth of her hands. There are no lingering memories of regretful goodbyes playing on the fringes of my mind. I don’t see her in the crowd and run to her side only to offer tearful and embarrassed apologies to a woman who, on closer inspection, could never be her at all. I don’t close my eyes on a flood of images that centre on hospital beds, beeping machines or hands grown cold, with any sense of desperation. I didn’t, full of pain, wish it to be over only to feel that I would do anything to have her back again later.

Continue ReadingA Different Grief

I do not master well this art of losing— last year our Dad, and now the house is sold. Instinctively, I grieve for all that’s passing. So many homes we’ve had—we’re used to moving— yet strange to see Mum taking charge alone. We pack and sweep, distracted from our losing.

Continue ReadingThe Art of Losing

All I can do is sit by your bed and watch you die. I don’t yet know that what I am feeding you will become your last meal on this earth.

Continue ReadingWaiting Beside You

I used to be a selfish man.              Never cruel or avaricious; merely unaccustomed to living outside myself. That all changed the moment you arrived. There you were, the very best of me, a tiny bundle full of promise and possibilities.

Continue ReadingCherub

You, c-shaped, ankles crossed under a piano stool, suspended notes, pages the colour of weak tea, cases buckled, black and stiff. Rememberings—the kitchen

Continue ReadingKey Change

Today I had a call from the young woman who used to be my kind and loving daughter. The special ring tone that I reserve for her calls punches me hard in the middle of my chest. I take a deep breath and press ‘accept’. It’s what I am trying to do—accept her for who she is now.        “Hi Mum!”        “Hello Darling, how are you today?”        “Fine. Can I borrow your car? I need to pick up my stuff from a friend’s place.”

Continue ReadingLosing Elizabeth