Veronica Aaronson

Absentia

In the rooms where my father dwells
confusion spreads like a virus,
the television isn’t where he saw it last,
someone has stolen his wallet,
his boiled sweets have been moved yet again.

On different days I am his mother,
his sister, sometimes his daughter.

Some days his dribbled words land like soft rain,
on others they leave his mouth like storm troopers
slapping us across the face.

Whether to prepare his blue shirt, polish his shoes
or tell him there is no interview, my mother
follows an intuition I don’t have. I pray
my mother stays sane and outlives him.

Mine is a guilt that’s difficult to wash away.

Veronica Aaronson’s first collection Nothing About the Birds Is Ordinary This Morning (Indigo Dreams) has been put forward for the 2020 Laurel Prize. One of the poems from the collection was chosen for the Scottish Poetry Library for its Best Scottish Poems Anthology 2019. A poem from her upcoming collection Emily’s Mothers, to be published by Dempsey and Windle in December, came second in the Waltham Forest Poetry Prize and has been nominated for the Forward Prize.