She keeps a calendar tacked on the back of the kitchen door.
Not a picture calendar. No mountains or streams.
No pastoral scenes or Constable Hay Wains.
Its practical this calendar, just like her.
A stable, meat and potatoes. but beautifully presented
It is an almanac and a diary.
She charts there the progress of our family.
She sees the days and weeks ahead,
Babies appointments, Jabs, Shoes, school fees.
She charts our days with military precision.
She leans close each morning,
spectacles drawn down on a questing pretty nose,
schedules consulted a week ahead and life goes on.
The Calendar has three columns
one for each of her babies, including me
And at the end, in the margins, where she often lives
she records the items relevant to herself.
I see this ritual, this daily perusal, battle plan preparation.
But then I see her brow furrow on those days
when all she sees are memories.
No urgent appointments, no meeting to attend
just hearts ends, moments when life spins out of focus.
Days that pass unspoken, deaths, anniversaries
of parents, a child, life she remembers
and I try so hard to forget.
A calendar that charts our future and yet
the important days are those we’ve left behind.
I try to ignore these moments of silent mourning,
she doesn’t need me then.
and then without warning she does.
She cries on my shoulder in-front of those days yet to come.