Spring Equinox 2020
By: Marina Sanchez
About The Poem
This poem came about from the rushed experience of having to take supplies for my daughter but not knowing when we’d be able to see each other again.
She lives in supported accommodation in Kent and she normally comes home every fortnight
We had never been apart longer than three weeks and we ended up not seeing each other for four months.
‘Send more than you think she’ll need’.
It was late when I finished bubble wrapping,
Labelling, packing and checking the list
of what my daughter would need for
an open-ended future. Last time she was home,
we said, as usual, ‘See you in twelve sleeps’.
She likes to cross days off on her activity
calendar with the staff who support her.
The world has challenged her since she was born,
how long has it taken her to understand time?
How long since we threaded rainbow beads on a string?
How can she understand what lockdown means?
I hug the travel bag tightly as the contents
shift, knock and rattle, but the weight slows me down,
my steps, heartbeat and breath unsteady, like my thoughts.
St Pancras station is almost empty.
When I reach the ticket office
I meet another mother also pushing
a large holdall of supplies for her son.
‘I’m shaking inside and I don’t know why’.
From the train, the greening of branches,
tenacious buddleias and scatterings
of primroses along railway sidings.
At every stop, car parks are mostly deserted:
in one, there’s a boy practising wheelies.
As the train trundles on, I’m almost alone
in the carriage, free to cry.
Before arriving, I put on the mask
and the single use vinyl gloves.
The cold wind stuns me as I alight.
At the station entrance, there’s no one else.
Grace, from my daughter’s care home is waiting:
she sees me, smiles and walks over.
I hand her the bag, she thanks me, drives off.
I fight the impulse to walk to my daughter’s home.
She’s barely ten minutes’ away but
I am not allowed to visit her.
She’ll never know I came.
How can she make sense of what’s going on?
I stand, arms empty, questions unborn in my mouth.
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