An old woman visited us in the store today,
she had a soft Edwardian bun with the sides falling
She stayed longer than most, so
I looked up at her, bewildered at her
listen, listen to me, it seemed
she cried, like a bird
And I knew it was one of those things, those
Old People Things that no one dares think about
imagine, for themselves.
She was neat, a crimson rosella, and lonely.
I heard her, I heard
her, speak, finally –
“this is my outing
for the day!” and
my colleague, she spoke to her, so, there was no need…
I read the news online until she left.
Later I finish work. I walk to the shopping centre exit and stand in the cold which slaps the
calcified air out of my system, when my mother pulls up right in front of me and I open the car
door to step inside.
I turn in greeting and see her
warm and nested
in a red jumper.
And suddenly I feel afraid.
So I talk about myself
and she listens the way only a mother could be expected to listen,
which you would be foolish to expect from
anyone else especially a
lover, because who cares so much so
blindly about you and your
We drive through the rain (it is raining) and
the warmth of the brake lights
in ruby jelly.
While I look out, ahead of us, maze of
car lights snaking, water and grease
deep into the night and know
I have been reminded again, deeply,
nothing is the same
everything is taken.
Fix down stay
fly away from me.
Helena Bryony Parker
Helena Bryony Parker is an emerging writer from Sydney, Australia. Currently she is undertaking a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney. Helena is a contributing writer for the student newspaper, Honi Soit, as well as a regular theatre reviewer for the Sydney-based company, Theatre Travels.