From a remove

By | 1 July 2009

The woman with the styrofoam cup and no teeth
sits all day at the taxi rank and is a local identity

The driver tells me this in his practised monologue
tells me she lost everything in the war

was forced to grow vegetables for soldiers
slave labour, you know –

How she had nothing
but when the Russians came

she lost everything all over again
How do you lose nothing?

I think about asking, but he's still
talking about her sitting there

with her no teeth, her free cup of coffee,
and her swearing, so I can't help but float

to my mother, her new teeth
and my grandmother's face

how I recognise it now
in the shape of my mother

except she must have been
there all along, staring

at me from a remove,
like the vacant blue sky

with its constance of stars or that
woman with her everything

and her nothing
all over again.

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