In my day, my mother says, they just came out
& mimes a dropping,
alive or dead, her fingers cup
a phantom babies head.
On a telephone, the current newborn is shown,
look at what your cousin has done –
a miracle of science, she says
& I had you alone.
We toss and turn the sums around,
consider this & that,
my mother decides the baby cost
about the deposit on a flat.
Once, in a kitchen, I watched her iron
rent money neatly so, the landlord
could count it crisply
& the creases wouldn’t show.
In this kitchen, we circle delicately
the subject of her childless children,
a wrinkle never made smooth &
which science cannot make even.
Despite the humming fridge,
across the lino floor, over the apples quietly moulding
drapes a silence made large
by the language it is withholding.
The kettle whistles cleanly,
Steam whitening the room.
A home without a child, she says,
is like a night sky without a moon.
Copyright Megg Minos 2013