Poem for my daughter

Margaret Bradstock

How consequences leap away 
                                from our control, 
a place you’ve never dreamed of,
                                      would not choose.
In the midst of all this turmoil
you’re diagnosed with breast cancer,
                                  the roots that clutch, 
insidious tentacles taking hold. 

I am broken for you, a hollow limb.
This is the poem  
                         I’d never thought to write.

Playing Scrabble with you at the Mater    
the chair you sat in, new-age throne 
                   hooked up to tubes and wires,  
while the lethal chemo
                               seeped into your veins
a helmet of ice-cubes on your head
                    to keep the temperature down
(so cold – you hate the cold − your feet
 in woollen socks)
your fogged brain still so smart, 
                                         you had to win.

Brave beret covering
                        the patchwork of your  hair
(your ‘mullet-do’, you called it,
                     hairdressers all in lockdown)
we meet for lunch at the finger wharves
then walk to Campbells Cove
            for the Japanese ‘Sculpture Rocks’
(still shrouded, a Christo landscape).
Winds sculpt the sandstone seawalls,
            glitter of gold on water
                     as the sun works its alchemy.

Margaret Bradstock has eight published collections of poetry, including The Pomelo Tree (winner of the Wesley Michel Wright Prize) and Barnacle Rock (winner of the Woollahra Festival Award, 2014). Editor of Antipodes (2011) and Caring for Country (2017), Margaret won the Banjo Paterson Poetry Award in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Her latest collection, from Puncher & Wattmann, is Brief Garden (2019).



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