‘Martha’s Final Teardrop’ © Joe Canning 2018. All Rights Reserved.

‘Martha’s Final Teardrop’
© Joe Canning 2018. All Rights Reserved.

In a cold room of whispering lips,
A small glint of sunlight dressed her face.
Like a heavenly ray it brought colour to her
Frail and wasted anaemic cheekbones.

She used to scold us for calling her Martha.
‘I’m your mother and never forget that’.
She laughed when we sulked in admonishment.
Unforgivable really. Should’ve known better. Ah well!

I detected a glimpse of a smile toward the ceiling.
Was something or someone there? I don’t know.
The old cat jumped on the eiderdown, as was usual.
We shooed her away. She left with a wagging anger.

Cups of tea were handed round by lifetime neighbours.
Gifts of bread and cakes piled high on the Welsh dresser.
Customary respect? Reciprocation? No! Just good neighbours,
Just an Irish thing, Happens everyday in holy candlelit bedrooms.

Her frail voice interrupted those awaiting the inevitable.
I think I heard a mention of my late father as I sipped sweet tea.
I swear the room chilled at that moment as she stirred.
With her exhalation Martha’s final teardrop danced in the morning light.


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