Northwords Now Issue 39

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Looking Out

by Paula Jennings

Every day more words elude her.
They march ahead like giants
with far-off piccolo voices.
Sometimes she can barely catch up.
    
    ‘You…listen…and…
    you…have the pleasure…
    to go out…’

She wants to go out.

I explain about safety, about seizures,
about not being a nurse, not being allowed.
She picks up a teddy bear, shakes it.
    
    ‘You are not…going out.
     You are… staying here.
     Who are you?’

She laughs bitterly, stands it on its head.

I list the advantages
of this benevolent detention:
meals cooked,
laundry done,
art classes in the morning,
the fiddle player from Edinburgh.

‘Is it enough to keep you going?’ I ask
foolishly.
    
    ‘No’.

Her veined hand gestures the length of the outside world,
which measures the same as the conservatory windows.