Jim Of The Cut - Poem by Francesca Johnson
Jim sits alone in his cottonwool world,
a man without a recent memory.
The shaking of his hands
caused not just by the vodca he consumes
but from the cruel disease
he inherited from his family.
Martina works hard for a meagre living
and has a little one to look after
but she will check on Jim each day,
making sure that the prostrate body
seen lying on the settee
through uncurtained windows
is still breathing.
And she will gently remind him
in her soft Irish lilt
that the food he left outside two days ago
may no longer be fit for eating.
Barry checks Jim’s boat
and makes sure that it is safe
to be on the water.
He will roll up his sleeves
and help clean up the mess
left by a failing mind.
And he will open up the tobacco packet
proffered by Jim
whose own hands are unable to grip.
Nigel will help
whenever he can.
I will make him that omelette
he hinted at
when I spoke of the eggs and bacon
I have on my boat.
He told me of the sausages
he thinks he has, too.
Jim will trundle along the towpath
looking for company
and find it.
He will tell us of things
which never happened,
and we will smile.
And he will, too.
He’ll talk of ex-wives
and childhood happenings,
remembering the details vividly
but will not remember those things
he did this morning.
It’s Jim’s birthday today.
He’ll have company
to celebrate it.
Happy birthday, Jim.
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