Margaret Pritchard- Birthday

Birthday

The other women here are older,
walking, between grave and trough,
half bent with watering cans,
their knees slow and stiff.
Their hands, tidying grass, with the same assured sweep
that once pushed hair off husbands’ foreheads.
They pat the earth, backs bent, broad soft backs,
the lines of practical bras under Marks and Spencer shirts,
fleshy and reassuring, like memories of grandmothers,
their elbows, as they kneel and plant and weed,
hanging loose, soft and wrinkled as tissue paper.


I am young, in this place. Firm-fleshed. Straight-backed.
Conspicuous, as I perform the same motions,
the ritual genuflection of weeding,
a novitiate of grief among the practiced sisters,
carrying my offering of your dirty plastic toy truck
to the fountain,
where I plunge it into the water, and scrub.

If you liked Margaret Pritchard Houston read Marissa McNamara

Margaret Pritchard Houston has had work on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

About the contributor

Related Articles

Poetry by Pauline May

EYES ON THE ROAD It’s this winter sunrise spiking my eyes as I drive. It’s morning’s red-fingered goriness dazzling, as I pull the sun shield down and...

Iain Campbell. Watching the Weather

Iain Campbell's poetry is inspired by his love of the landscape and the sea, often intertwined with a tale of someone he has met, or of a journey he has undertaken.

Sam Smith -Poetry

Another Pause among white tussocks a sun-doped song-thrushspreads her wings  /  and opens her feathers  /  to be ant-cleaned nearby shallow ponds and pools are alive...

More Like This

Eros by J.P Mayer

JP Mayer is an emerging writer and a current senior at Brown University, where he studies classics and literary arts.

Life and Conflict in 2019 New Zealand

Philip Muir savours the power of words as both a mode of communication and as an art form.

Poetry from Sandra Horn

Sandra Horn is a writer based in Southampton. She has had poems published in Artemis and Magma magazines and in several anthologies: Lines in the Sand, Write to be Counted, Dancing in the Chequered Shade, the Emma Press Book of Age, the Writers’ Cafe and Some Cannot Be Caught: the Emma Press book of Beasts._____________

Poetry by Peter Mitchell

Peter Mitchell's poetry is inspired by the character of the birds of his native Australia.

Anna Blasiak – Poetry

Anna Blasiak is a poet, translator and literature co-ordinator of the European Literature Network. She has translated over 40 books from English into Polish and some fiction and poetry from Polish into English. In addition to her book-length translations, her work has been published in Best European Fiction 2015, Asymptote, The Guardian, B O D Y Literature, Modern Poetry in Translation and York Literary Review. Anna writes poetry in Polish and in English (Off_Press, Women Online Writing, Exiled Ink and Modern Poetry in Translation). She has worked in museums and a radio station, run magazines, written on art, film and theatre.