by Linnet Drury

after Louisa Adjoa Parker

Instead of you dying, why don’t
you come round to ours. We’ll tell
you we’re ready by calling your
home and hanging up after three rings.
We’ll hand you folded card takeaway menus,
pretend to look through them then reel out the
usual; garlic beansprouts with
mushroom curry, as if you had just
decided then and there, with
a sly chuckle. You’ll pull three
movies, two cowboy one alien,
out of your worn black sack of
a handbag. You’ll leave us late, for
we’ll only start watching
the chosen film after a long discussion
about being a nun, your favourite
French abbeys. I’ll pour you a drink
as you and my mother reminisce.
I’ll watch you through the glass
of something stronger, crazy waves
of massive white hair. I’ll be trying to
place the way you convey comfort, notice
how you always screw your
eyes in sympathy. Me and mum
will taxi you at 7am to
Easter service, the only people in
Oxford at dawn except the one
jogger. You always supply the change. You
won’t have been the most sudden
death I heard of, via email. The
last time I see you won’t be
leaving the cinema at 10pm, you so
excited Harrison Ford returned
for the final film, you telling us
I’m walking too slow, you
should run and catch up with the others
in your matter of fact way.
The last words we say to
you won’t be but this feels
like the movies, where the old hand
tells the hero go on
without me, I’ll only hold you
back and they are never seen
again? You won’t say goodbye in your even more
matter of fact way and leave,
back into the ether, you’ll
be sitting there at the Odeon
café next time, exactly fifteen minutes early
as usual.