Poetry by Maureen Wilkinson

Travellers' Tales

This poem is included in my collection THE BLINDMAN GOES FROM A TO B published by Peterloo Poets. A signed copy may be PURCHASED HERE...


I've travelled back from Bali, she from Kent
to share this Cristmas.  Sitting, drinking tea,
our conversation fluctuates between
my flight, her trip, their art, the evening's tele.
In over eighty years she hasn'r travelled
further than a day trip to Dieppe.
Now, like a horror film, the world is closing
in on her.  She doesn't like the dark, can't
read much now, can't manage hills, regardless
of the legendary beauty of a vista.  Death
is her next adventure, and she speaks
casually of it, like a planned trip.

She says she thinks she'll die before September,
since her age, eighty-one, adds up to nine,
as does next year, and also she's a three
in Numerology.  That fits as well.
I say you can do anything with numbers, but she
insists, and cites as an example my sister's dying
date in sixty-six, which added up to two, which was
her number.  I'm glad I'm seven.  I cut us some cake.
She's animated now, tallying fate to
figures.  It's a customised timetable
she's guaranteed to use, eventually.

I proffer photographs.  She stops politely
to look at paddies, palm trees, me in temples,
then moves unswervingly to her main question:
"Do you think that Dad and Brenda are together?
D'you think we'll all meet up in the Hereafter?"

Now in my head I visualise her walking
away, a weary figure from a station's
gloom.  She's wearing her blue mac.
Outside in brilliant sunshine a group gathers,
already suntanned, dressed in summer white,
faces expectant.  I have often seen
such reconciliations on my travels.

"What do you think?  I'm not afraid of dying.
I'd love to meet with everyone again;
Brenda and Dad and Aunty Flo.  My Joycie."
Even this world is full of missed connections.
I can't say yes.  I say it would be nice.

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