Elizabeth Smither

My mother visits me in hospital

My mother appears at the end of the bed
making a fine contrast to the nurses.
She is beautifully and elaborately dressed.

All this furniture, she seems to be saying,
is the flimsiest the world offers;
these cabinets with their wilting flowers

and the water jug and glass, the control
panel on the wall like an abstract painting.
Nothing matches the crease of her skirt

or the gloves she takes off her fingers
in mockery of the surgeon putting his on.
I shall have my way with my daughter

I shall bring her out of this place
of bogus and fruitless whiteness
her wound will heal under my ministrations

as the outside world fills up with detail
caught in light and love. She stands
and the sunlight falls from her skirt.

Author’s Note


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