It didn’t sound so bad, the word itself

breathed out across the desk:

Em-phy-se-ma, quick quick slow quick,

Foxtrot maybe, dancing in an unlit park,

first headrush of tobacco’s bitter love

as German dragonflies flew over Silvertown.

After diagnosis, pond dreams:

ducks and dog-walkers

oblivious to heads all surfacing at once

despite the whine of sirens

and the threat of being clouted by the sky

to gasp for breath, for one last cigarette.

Joan Martin, my lovely mum

11.09.1928 - 29.12.2020