So ably she created art
painting, photography,
sewing machine patterns on cloth,
playing her flute so brilliantly.

When we told her of our lives
she fired unrelated unexpected
questions in to our conversations.

We wondered that she had eaten
so little for so long. Now she
suffered chronic fatigue, spent
days on her bed, exhausted,
refusing to play her flute.

Doctors did not accept her self
diagnosis of an obscure medical
condition much to her fury.
Nor do we. We see long time
starvation as her problem.

I rang to confirm my email
with my new address. Said she
could visit after lockdown ended.

“What’s so serious about Covid 19 ?”
she asked. I thought. “It kills
more people more often than
other illnesses. It spreads fast.”

“Ooooh !” she said, baffled.
Her sparse family is scattered,

She is terrified of rest homes.


Changing Scenes

He walked down the busy main
road, searching for someone,
not sure who, then back to the
place where he lived now.

She came in, said Mrs Brown saw
him going down the road. Why ?
She had said she wouldn’t be long.

He wanted to drive himself to the
club but she drove him there, said
he kept forgetting where he was.

He was a good driver, could drive fast,
needed a big car to go really fast
so the blokes at the club would
remember he was a real driver.

They packed everything in a truck
which drove away. Next day they
drove all day – well, she drove

up to a little house and parked the
car. She walked him over the road,
down the drive into a big hallway.

Two women met them, walked with them
along corridors and into a bedroom.
This is your room now they told him.

He says they should drive all day
back to the place they came from.
Then everything would be all right.

Changing Scenes


Mrs Jones did her home chores
all day as she ran her home
just as her foremothers did.
Mr Jones took all this as his due
for long days at a man’s job
just as his forefathers did.

After more than forty years
he was puzzled when
shopping was not done,
clothes were not washed.
Mrs Jones was puzzled too,
she stared at him blankly
when asked if dinner was ready.

Mr Jones knew what men did
which was not cooking dinner
but only he was cooking meals.

Mrs Jones did her best.
She put the pan on the element,
turned it on, then wandered outside
to stare at the magnolia tree.
She put in the plug
filled the hand basin
with hot water and
was shocked when
the bathroom floor
scalded her feet.

When Mr Jones came home from shopping
the iron was smoking on its board.
He awoke one morning to find
a fire in the pan on the stove.

The doctor filled in forms,
officials met Mrs Jones.
Mr Jones filled in forms
and visited places.

Mrs Jones moved into her rest home room,
they cook dinner for her there.
Mr Jones cooks his own dinner at home.

Originally posted 16 February 2016.