‘Clearing Out Mum’ by Julia Webb

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.