Robyn Lance

She made slow progress
down the darkened hall,

a cut rose past its prime,
head heavy, bloom faded.

Lift … push … shuffle …
the frame guided

by hands half hidden
in fingerless gloves.

In the dutiful times of war
a suitor was repelled

lest he deflect her from
the patriarch.

Struggling to comply
with the unwritten plot

she left a job of some repute
to tend an aging father,

washing the daily fallout
from incontinence,

feeding the failing flesh and minds
of father then mother.

At the crossroads of their release
she chose the bedside

of the aunts, one by one,
selflessness expected.

A generation dwindled
and died. Her job was done

but the future dwelt
in darkened rooms

with a two bar radiator,
doors closed

and the keys on a ribbon
round her neck.

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