grandma

lazy dust floating
in sunshine
through a gap in the curtains
grandma sleeping in her chair

a blissful memory
of simple peace

she would play at cards
a kind of solitaire
and she would never miss
a radio show called
“Dr Finlay’s Casebook”
the radio was huge and brown
with great big black dials
she used to call it
the “wireless”

she made soda bread
and lemon curd
but I was too young to learn
everyone else was at work
or school
which was actually the same place
my folks being teachers

she called everyone “lovie”
I always thought it funny
and she had a special tin
for saccharine tablets
she put in her tea

sellotaped inside the lid
was a shard of glass
it had stabbed her in the finger
during the war
a bomb had blasted
but she still had laundry
and got cut
patting it down
over twenty years
that glass bothered her
eventually it worked its way
out of her wrist
and so she kept it
as a memento
a trophy of a triumph
over pain

at dinnertimes for eight
she would often dissappear
into silent reveries
as she tapped her fingers
on the table
my dad would slide a mat
under her drumming
and the sound would change
to muffled
we all went into fits

she had an operation
well into her eighties
gallstones I think
and the convalescence was long
one evening
when everyone was out
she popped her head around the door
to say “I’m just off
to the whistdrive lovie”
I said something like
“that’s great grandma
you haven’t been for ages”
and she gave an unusually
enthusiastic smile

on the way
she was hit by a motorbike
and that was that

I found her glasses
on the verge
when I went to have a look
I like to think that fate
had dealt her a kindness somehow
but still I really wish
I’d offered to walk her

"Grandma Carroll"