Bare Bones Of It

‘Don’t throw me to the wolves’, I said
but cancer had your brain by then. Along
with bone, and skin and hair.
I have things to tell you that I couldn’t.
I am a late starter, lost my virginity at 18
to the video repair man, in the spare
bedroom with the rough navy blue sheets
you bought from Peter Jones.

My children love you best even though
you have a radiance that they can’t see.
When I was ill you would give me
asparagus soup from the can. And
Lucozade with its flashy orange cellophane
coat. Not out of place on a Kings Cross
night. And I would drink it carefully
sipping your love, like fine wine.

I used to crack jokes about you to
make my father like me better. They
were cheap shots, Babycham insults.
Mocking your terror of tunnels and
lifts, dark, sharp places that chopped
you off at your knees. Then I
remember you dancing on 7 Mile Beach,
the inky night a Covent Garden backdrop.
A fourth daiquiri in your hand,
you were a Goddess.

And people sent you crazy ideas about
cures. Rattlesnake venom, aloe vera and
blessings from some Saint who didn’t give a
fuck. I cursed God in the night, rocking
your Grandson, salted fury coursing
and how I hated. Everything.
Wait for me in those fields of gold,
I’ll come when it’s time. But for now,
tracing the outline of a photograph
slamming the drawer shut, quick before
tears come, because that is all for now.


Photo Credit: Pietro Zuco Flickr via Compfight cc

Tabatha Stirling

I recently signed with Unbound, the literary crowdfunding publisher, for my book about maid abuse in Singapore called "Blood On The Banana Leaf." Funding stands at a revved up 40 percent so if you felt like pledging for some really excellent rewards and my unfettered love, please visit this link: When I’m not writing or baking cupcakes, I am thinking about writing, reading, studying for my MLitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow University, designing book covers, gaming or watching dark, blood-splattered dramas like the Walking Dead, Ray Donavon, and Sons of Anarchy. I am totally prepared for a zombie apocalypse!

  1. doriowen

    Tabatha, I love your words. It’s a sad story to follow with such poignant memories. I know of these places and it somehow makes it sadder. Truth or your incredible imagination–you have a writer’s compelling voice. This piece is wonderful and more. xD.

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