How to survive the spring without your grandchild

Mary Anne Perkins

Make up your mind to find one photograph
and sit with it. Do this as often as you can
until you feel ready to lift the album down
and open it with steady hands.

Forget spring-cleaning.
Beware of opening cupboards in case
that car he lost comes tumbling out
and smashes through the day.

Sit in the sun, letting it melt your frost.
Don't dwell on how good the garden looked
last year when he was trampling daffodils,
picking off their heads.

Let go of friends afraid to say his name
who show you videos of family holidays.
Spend Christmas out in space or under ground.
Go deep-sea diving on his birthday.

Next time you see a child whose hair and age
are a perfect match, tell yourself firmly
it isn't him. Go home and play the maddening
song he had to hear each visit.

Put on the hat with flaps that made him laugh
and dance your heart out to the music.

Mary Anne Perkins

Mary Anne Perkins moved to North Tyneside from London in 2011 and now exults in living near enough the beach to walk at sunrise.

Her collection, Shadow-Play, was published as a result of winning the Indigo Dreams Summer Collection competition (2009).

She was a runner-up in the Fish Publishing Poetry Prize (2008), and commended in the Gregory O'Donoghue International Competition (2010) and the Basil Bunting Awards (2013).

Her poems are published in various anthologies and magazines, most recently in Acumen (January 2016).

The poem How to survive the spring without your grandchild was inspired by Julia Darling's How to Deal with Terrible News.

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How to survive the spring without your grandchild © 2016 Mary Anne Perkins: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.