It didn’t sound so bad, the word itself
breathed out across the desk:
Emphysema, 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