She heard of her father’s death,
waking in a Pennsylvanian Sleep Inn
on a sunny, chill Boxing Day.
The room shrank to his isolation
where she had washed her hands
with chemical thoroughness.
The involuntary cry escaped
her, only to be expertly packed away.
She could not think of her mother
or of the daughter she
would have to tell, as though
she was pulled together.
Instead, she combed her hair
and took the elevator down,
ate pancakes, cereal, strawberry
yoghurt, pouring strong coffee
to strengthen her resolve
for the long day ahead.
At home, the day
was already closing
Jude Brigley has been a teacher, an editor, a coach and a performance poet. She is now writing more for the page.