Clearing Out Mum
It’s like unreeling
yards and yards of tangled wire,
or finding mice in an attic
you never even knew you had.
It’s like the wash-off, run-through,
bleed-right hours of sorting.
It’s like squirreling backwards,
or finding yourself back in the town
that you spent years getting out of.
It’s like a thousand keys without a lock,
(or a thousand locks without a key).
It’s the unravelled jumper syndrome
of clutter-mouth, skip-face, charity-bone.
It’s those sweets in a bowl that your Nana saved.
It’s the pencilled words in the book
that you gave your mother and she defaced.
It’s like a shoe-shine crystal avalanche,
an amalgamation of days and nights and nights and days.
It’s hair on a brush and teeth in a bag.
It’s a dirty bathroom and unwashed plates.
(an earlier version of this poem appeared in the anthology Ten Poets: UEA Creative Writing Anthology 2010, (Norwich: Egg Box, 2010).
Julia Webb lives in Norwich. She is a graduate of UEA’s poetry MA and a poetry editor for Lighthouse. In 2011 she won the Poetry Society’s Stanza competition. Nine Arches Press will publish her first collection Bird Sisters in 2016.