the mother files (part 1) – from “the book of sins”

it was tall

that tree that i so loved

in the garden of my youth

that garden, your garden

where i found the nests of birds

as a child

climbing up and up

peering over with eager

eyes and hands

those helpless babies

with open mouths

i fed worms – found in

the soil next to

the swing

you brought from the house

in taiping -

it was white then

but now silver as is the colour

of your hair, as it is now

grown back in silvery

sprigs, pine-like

delicate, like glass

fibres, framing your face

exposing bone, vein, sinew

as the cancer eats you

you have become a child again

like the birds i once fed

i feed you now, spoonful by

watery spoonful

like you once fed me

and like the birds

i know you will take flight

please -

fly now, with your arms


like those birds

that once lived

in your garden.

(in memory of jane chauly 1940-2007)