by Terry Collet

Your mother used to sit on the window 

Ledge of the tenement building and 

Wash the windows of each of the rooms. 

She’d push back the shutters and just 

Sit there with a bucket of warm water 

And a cloth and wash away. You were 

Always afraid she’d lean too far back 

And fall out and down to the ground 

Several storeys below with a heavy crash 

And break bones or neck or maybe die. 

But she’d just sit there her legs holding 

Onto the wall beneath her and push her 

Right hand holding the damp cloth 

Over the glass while her left hand held 

The metal bucket tight swishing the warm 

Water as she moved back and forth like 

Some lone trapeze artist on the high wire 

Without apparent fear or knowledge of 

Was going on in the street below with the

Passing of the walking dead as Father used 

To say and Mrs Febrile sitting on her window

Ledge with her daughter watching gossiping 

And nosing about who did what to whom 

While all the while you were frightened of 

Your mother slipping out the window waving
Her hands and arms as she fell to her doom.