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THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW

Updated: Mar 29, 2022

They come armed with bulbs:

it’s not too late they say

though the wind blows cold

across the Shannon

and the ground is frostbitten.


I watch from the window

as they set to work

on a thankless patch of earth.


They chat. About what?

A reckless daughter?

A feckless son?


The baby inside me kicks

and I put the kettle on.


They stay out longer

than they need to,

clearing weeds and stones.

Winter jobs.


I see them laugh at something.

Their cheeks are red.

Their hair windswept.


I throw more turf on the fire

or maybe a stolen briquette.


I'm not sure what happened next.

Tea, cake, excitement over babygros

pulled from their shopping bags.


By early March,

with Esmé in our arms,

their bulbs burst into wild applause.


We learnt about a lot that year.

Calpol. Nappies. Nipple shields.

Boundless love.

Exhaustion. Fear.


And how a gift given

in winter's grip

will grow to greet our girl

each spring.


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