Called out of a staff meeting, I was told
my mother was on the point of death.
Searching in the regulations,
the secretary told me
how many days I was allowed
for the death, and
(separately) for the funeral,
each allowance dependent
on the degree of relationship – mothers
are in the first category.
Arriving home, without realising
how I had driven there,
feeling the need to be clean for her,
I showered, dressed appropriately,
and drove on.
A hundred and fifty miles of motorway,
somewhere a stop for tea.
Why did I look in the service station bookshop?
There was a life of Eliot.
I should read it one day.
She died before I arrived.
It was not unexpected. She had lived a year
after the stroke, longer
than we, or she, had thought possible.
How cold her cheek was.
Death was not new to me –
I had known pets in plenty go
from age, accident, or lethal injection,
been with some as they died – but mothers
are in a different category.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.I would like to translate this poem