Friday Poem


When the new room was built my mother showed me What To Do In Case Of Fire. There were
four metal rungs embedded in the balcony wall: this was the escape route. She did not show me
(then) the other one.

What happened was, my mother was very very sad. She was so sad she could not hold up her
head, she could not sit down, she could not lie down, she could not see out of the dark, my very
sad mum.

In the course of my research I learned a new kind of love. This lesson taught me to pray. I made
a prayer for my mother. By ‘prayer’ I mean a meditation on a want that can never be answered.
A prayer for the dead alive inside the living. That’s what it is to burn a flame. We were in the
darkest days of winter, approaching the celebration of light.

I watched the white men in their pastel coats / Roll you up and put you away / They put you
inside their white box / With its clicks and locks / And carried you far away

by Emily Berry
from The Poetry Review
Vol. 105, No.4, Winter 2015