She is that guid tae me so she is an Am a burden tae her, I know Am ur. Stuck here in this big blastit bed year in, year oot, ony saint wuid complain. There’s things she has tae dae fir me A’ wish she didnae huv tae dae. Am her wean noo, wey ma great tent o’ nappy, an champed egg in a cup, an mashed tattie. Aw the treats A’ used tae gie her, she’s gieing me. A’ dinny ken whit happened. We dinny talk any mair. Whether it’s jist the blethers ha been plucked oot o’ us an Am here like some skinny chicken, ma skin aw bubbles and dots and spots, loose flap noo (an yet as a young wuman A’ took pride in ma guid smooth skin.) Aw A’ dae is sit and look oot this windae. A’ve seen hale generations graw up an simmer doon fray this same windae – that’s no seen a lick o’ paint fir donkeys. The Kerrs have disappeared, but the last Campbells ur still here so Am telt – tho’ hauf the time A’ dinny believe her: A’ve no seen any Campbell in a lang time. My dochter says ‘Awright mother?’ haunds me a thin broth or puried neep an A say ‘Aye fine,’ an canny help the great heaving sigh that comes oot my auld loose lips, nor ma crabbit tut, nor ma froon when A’ pu’ ma cardie tight aroon ma shooders fir the night drawin in. Am jist biding time so am ur. Time is whit A’ hauld between the soft bits o’ ma thumbs, the skeleton underneath ma night goon; aw the while the glaring selfish moon lights up this drab wee prison. A’ll be gone and how wull she feel? No that Am saying A’ want her guilty. No that Am saying Am no grateful.
Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. She has published five collections of poetry for adults (The Adoption Papers won the Forward Prize, a Saltire Award and a Scottish Arts Council Book Award) and several for children. She was awarded an MBE in 2006.Read more about this poet