A SPELL IN THE ASYLUM
Dear departed Mrs Latta mists over
as I wave, ghost-flesh melted into nothing,
the only almost-mother in my earthly world.
Arm in arm we’d walk and shop on Paisley’s streets.
My gaggle of babes is somewhere,
in another woman’s kitchen or head to toe asleep.
Until my name returns to me, I’m in Bedlam.
That girl stitched into Mrs Latta’s needlework
hung above the marital bed haunts me,
a framed, gazing statue. She is me,
prisoner of others, a voyeur of my life.
Spiders suspend from the glass, dance with their prey,
consume my brain in criss-cross webs,
and my body ripples purpled twitches.
White lilies chatter.
I’m falling through a moving floor;
grief for Mrs Latta clings to my petticoat shreds.
Someone has painted my hands with bloodied streaks
The laundry tubs bubble. My baby’s skin, my wedding linen,
the sheen of copper pans is alien now.