The mother’s coat, of meekness and strength,
she wears it, her son lies now under the earth.
She bears too, on her gaunt shoulders,
bleeding wounds and fragments of warfare.
The trembling shade cries in the sun,
the fate of murdered generations.
Sleepless nights she spends spinning her destiny,
his bicycle rusting on the balcony.
The heart puts on a coat, as armour,
framed in the bedroom, his passport photo picture,
she’d had it in her bag, and the medals he’d worn,
not for this war, that’s not why he was born.
She weaves her pain in cloth of red brass,
a cloth of nails, hammered in the heart.
That was the picture that heard the last hymn,
as a little boy she bathed him with thyme.
If she’d ever found his Achilles heel,
she would have tipped off guardian angels.
The frame of the glasses is always twisted.
Photos split by fingers of control strips.
The postman’s envelope brings her pension.
She wraps herself in high day clothing.
She gives the money all to his unit,
besides having to order the casket.
They lay him down, like in the maternity ward,
alongside the graves, the last post observed.
Over bowers of her beloved lilac,
a skinny birch, straight backed, standing watch.

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In my powers of memory your name comes top.
I dried mandarin and mint and drew a full stop.
I wore your scent until the rain washed it away.
My body still vibrates to what you sent my way.
Made a tea of recollection, warm handed at bathtime.
In my memory garden we talk without end in the sunshine.
You saved me for later, as if you wanted to scrimp words for me.
As if I’ve been defrocked, you wear my scent as a trophy.