Mother
Evelyn Casey

She baked soda bread, wrapped it in a damp tea towel
and let it cool on the kitchen window,
on Wednesdays and on Sunday it was fruit cake,
the one with cinnamon, the one my sister tries to copy.

When she knit, she’d use both hands to hold the wool
but only her index finger moved, with precision
patiently, row after row, growing
until back, or front, or sleeve appeared.

On Thursday she took the double decker bus
to buy the weekly shopping and a treat,
of sugared doughnuts or salt and vinegar chips.
She sang a lot of oldies, and we sang along.
She told a good ghost story at Halloween.

When the summer days were sticky,
she’d prepare a picnic basket, and a blanket or two
to rest between the dips in the ocean.
In winter, she toasted peanuts on the open fire
and we combed her thick curls.

Christmas time was best, baking
We’d lick the big baking bowl clean,
scrape it with the wooden spoon,
and lick the spoon then lick our fingers.
Each of us had our favourite decoration for the tree.
Fairy lights and ribbons and baby in the crib.

Times have changed since she passed.
Picnics, are checking photos on Facebook
and toasted peanuts are fast subways.
But nothing can replace her bread
cooling on the kitchen window.