Mother’s Light

Mother’s Light (‘Open Windows’ Waterloo Press, 2019)

April 2020, lockdown.


Mother’s Light

It was in the spotlight of her stare
I first became a star. Up there
on the stage above the stairs
I’d shimmy, curtsey in my nightdress. 
No one asked what time it was. Way past bed.

We didn’t play that music much.
Once a month like prime-cut steaks,
her outings to the bingo hall.
My spotlight fell to darkness then,
a closed sign pulsed at my window.

But once, in the old Waverley,
mum found a spotlight of her own.
One that danced around her hips
anointing her arrhythmic tics
highlighting steps, encircling, I walked 

back homewards with a swing.
Knowing I was from a line
of ballerinas bluffing it.
And after that she’d often sit
on the bottom step, watching a stretched leg

kick, into the stratosphere of darkness,
glass skies smashed by outstretched toes,
bolstered by eyes attentive to detail.
See how my arm sweeps like a lady’s?
She’d sip and I was perfect, even 

through the blurred goggles of Guinness.
Even now, I can conjure her up,
ovation silent, mawkishly entranced,
with just a tear and frothy cup. Raised.
A thank you speech, one final dance.

(c) Merrie Joy Williams