My mother kept her Swiss watch in the remoteness
of the master bedroom, in her sacred wardrobe drawer,
in that handbag which looked like a legless black poodle
with two golden ears in the middle of its spine.
There it ticked more regularly than her heart
entangled with embroidered handkerchiefs,
crucifixes, Bibles, Holy Mary amulets and things
worth waiting for, like better days, sweet blessings
and the promised ever afters.
When my knees were free of plasters, which was rarely,
she granted me the privilege of being let into her shrine
almost close enough to touch that time which
she sheltered even from herself.
The poodle’s magic died, when one weekday
she gave that old watch to a better-behaved girl.
About this poem
This poem, representing Switzerland, is part of The Written World – our collaboration with BBC radio to broadcast a poem from every single nation competing in London 2012.