My Mother at the Undertakers (extract)
I turned away but saw my father
lean in close to her
raise his hands into the space between his face
For one moment I thought he was going to clap.
Then it seemed he was going to hold her head.
Or perhaps his.
But what he did then was shake his hands,
shake them in that space between his face
It seemed like some ancient gesture
some blessing. Or curse. Or both.
Wishing her safe passage?
Or cursing her for leaving him.
He stared and muttered
looked away and looked again.
I could see what he was doing:
forcing this picture into his mind,
making himself hold on to this last view of her
after forty years of knowing it like the back of his hand.
Also by Michael Rosen: The Golem Of Old Prague
You Are, Aren't You? * Did I Hear You Write?