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