By Fiona Sinclair
She is a baby bird who despite our own fractured minds
we want to feed with comfort, as week by week,
she tears the dressing off her history.
Father’s cudgeling of her confidence taken up by brother,
40 years of return to sender devotion.
Her husband seeming to arrive like the rescue services
and carry her off to the safety of a marriage
but two months after the honeymoon a stranger moved into his head.
No space in her life for babies
when she must hourly check the temperature of his mood.
Sometimes must get out of the house so walks and walks
until she feels the yank of her tether.
On Fridays when he’s had a difficult night,
despite aching for the spare room and barbiturates,
she negotiates the several buses to arrive
raw faced, beruffled hair, indoor clothes,
and politely listens to group members’ whining:
I haven’t had sex for years,
I ‘m afraid of being myself with people.
My friend phones to deliver a news round up
of children’s gap year and a wedding anniversary jaunt to Bath.
I sketch the members in the group.
She pounces on baby bird as if personally insulted by her.
Why doesn’t she start a new life like I did?
Gripping the receiver I recall some fifteen years before
when she had looked up from literature revision
to find her Heathcliff leaving with bags packed.
So had stared at exam questions,
with thoughts of him touching another woman
fusing her first class brain.
How rolling up my sleeves I had instructed:
tell your tutors, ask for concessions……
Six months later, mother was on stand by for child minding,
brother’s ministrations prolonged the life of her elderly car,
and father tapped the side of his nose telling her
not to fret about the mortgage.