You were to me – Olga Dermott-Bond

You were to me

…………………….a scientist, who when I was sick wrapped
……………………..me in an old cardigan and aspirin then
………………………took a swab of my throat, growing my
……………………..virus in a petri dish in the airing cupboard
………………………so I saw the reasons, like tiny jellyfish,
………………………behind my hot shivers. You were to me a
……………………..trapeze artist in sensible shoes who claimed
………………………to have no imagination, no interest in how
………………………ideas could swing glittering above my head
……………………..when I flew to catch them. You were to me
………………………a bible, a guilt-abacus, a great ball of string,
……………………..a suitcase, sinew, muscle, heart, lungs. You
………………………were to me a bone collector, your own child-
………………………hood rattling in jars in a stammering pantry,
………………………trying so hard to speak. You were to me
………………………sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper,
………………………all of yourself given away in hungry parts.
………………………You were to me a medicine of breadcrumbs
………………………saucepans rattling with heat of motherhood,
………………………oblivious to my 5, 6, 7 melting like snow
………………………from a ditch.

 

A former Warwick Poet Laureate, Olga’s work can be read in a range of publications including Rattle Magazine, Magma and Ink Sweat and Tears. This year she was one of the winners of the BBC Proms Poetry Competition.

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