I watch as she reaches for the glass: hands lined
criss cross, soft and flappy like the inside of my purse;
she won’t give a grain of rice away, stores them under her bed
till the bulge nudges her and keeps her awake.
She counts the slats of light the night lamp throws,
waiting for the sleeping pill to start work: counting helps sometimes.
She worries what to count next, the avenue of street lamps
from her window, the tiles at the end of her hospital cot.

She has him and she does not have him:
when she enters the operation theatre
he will be lying in his room worried who will take him to loo;
he has her and he does not have her:
as he tucks the napkin under his chin
she will raise her hospital gown and piss in the pan.
I have you and do not have you
you have me and do not have me.

( Inspired by Sharon Olds )

Big Tent Poetry


6 thoughts on “Alone

  1. I didn’t know Olds, Uma, but saw that she has also influenced another of our friends. So, I’ve been reading a few of her works and have to say, of the ones I found, I liked them very much. Your poem is, as always, rich and real in detail.

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