by Sarah Mills
You used to take me swimming,
used to paint my face with sunscreen,
velvet fingers making weightless gestures
on my cheeks.
Now your withered hands lay limp
against the blue armchair.
You don't remind me to put on my sunscreen;
you only tell me of strangers
who sing to you each night.
You ask who they are, who I am.
It will rain, you say suddenly,
and I think of the days at the pool
when your graceful arms lifted me from the water
and you wrapped me in warmth,
holding my hand on the walk home.
Who are these people
who come and sing to me each night? You ask again,
and say nothing else all day.
I am floating on the surface of your silence,
drowning in the absence of your words.
I close the door, kneeling on the carpet outside,
and I wait, and I listen.