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She is the clatter of the wooden spoon
inside a ceramic bowl; the smell
of sponge cakes. She's a floral
dress, an embarrassing hat,
a terrible, blue-rinse perm.
She's flapjacks, melting buttery-sweet
on the edges of your tongue and
the tart lemonade you wash them
down with. She is a ruffling of
your hair. She's a list of names,
reeled off
as she tries to find yours among them,
and a laugh like warm Christmas pies,
fat and fruity, when she fails.

She is not a querulous whine, nor
tentative hands, plucking at
a hospital blanket. She is neither
disinfectant nor lukewarm tea;
she isn't the pale yellow nightdress
that looks like a shroud.
She's not the echoing click of
heels on lino in glassy corridors,
hushed, portentous voices, or the
sheet-covered, shrunken husk
wheeled off
as you try to absorb and accept.
But maybe, perhaps, she might be
the singing of the choir on a cold morning.