Last Waltz

Catherine Graham

Bedroom slippers are her dance shoes now,
still shining like silver paper

as we slow waltz around the kitchen.
One   two three   one

two three. Left hand resting on my shoulder,
right hand palm to palm with mine,

her wedding ring no longer round.
Without band or CD

we sing her favourite: Moonlight and Roses.
The mother I meet this morning

smiles as she did at nineteen, her twenty inch waist
the envy of every girl in the dance hall.

Resting her head on my breast
she whispers how much she's missed me.

Today I am my father, yesterday
her schoolgirl daughter, scolded

for not clearing my plate. The glitter ball stops
right above us; we collect our prize and pour tea.

Catherine Graham

Catherine Graham lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her chapbook, Signs (ID on Tyne Press), was one of The Poetry Kit's top five recommended books for 2011. Catherine's work has appeared alongside poems by internationally acclaimed poets including: Carol Ann Duffy, Seamus Heaney, Benjamin Zephaniah, Sharon Olds and Bob Dylan in Soul Feathers (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2011) and Paul Muldoon, Robert Hass, Fleur Adcock and Penelope Shuttle in The Stony Thursday Book (Arts Office of Limerick City Council, Ireland 2009). Last Waltz is taken from Catherine's first full collection Things I Will Put In My Mother's Pocket (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2013).

About the poem, she says:

"My mother and I often sing together - and dance in the kitchen. Sometimes a waltz, sometimes a moonlight saunter ... Moonlight and Roses."

Catherine's website.

Catherine's previous Poems of the Month were Black Bullets and Vinegar, England and Making Clogs at Gallowgate.

Poem of the Month full list

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Last Waltz © 2013 Catherine Graham: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.
Photo © picturesbybish (Chris Bishop) used with permission