I knocked on the window of her little
three sharp raps - Father Son and Holy Ghost -
A signal for her it was kin.
Slowly the bolts went back, one, two and three,
and to be extra sure she calls, ‘who’s there?’
Finally, her head appears from behind the door.
‘Och, daughter dear come in, come in,
an’ don’t let that draught in with you.’
I stood in the creepy dark hall, driblets of Holy Water
dropping from my brow –
a dousing to cleanse the soul she’d say,
before she allowed you into her little Vatican.
I sat on her chair, feeling special and sank into her fluffy
pillows that she says eases her aches.
I swung my legs contentedly
watching the saints of the world watch me.
Their staring eyes following mine.
The table was set with her best China, a real treat for a
I felt as though I was playing house with my dolls.
She allowed me to pour,
to use her real silver tea strainer,
a wedding present from an old friend I’m told.
Three slices of White Chief break,
the only brand she’d use – sat waiting to be devoured.
A dish of country butter sat next to a pot of Robinson’s
and if I were extra good I was rewarded with the Golliwog.
I helped to clear the dishes away,
feeling privileged that she trusted me with her chine tea
I pulled the curtain across the scullery and watched
as she dug deep into her bosom to retrieve her purse.
A treat for me, a shining new penny and another scapular.
This informed me that it was time for home.
Anorak zipped to the chin, she blessed me once more
and could have swore the sacred heart
winked at me as we tangled in a hug.
As I made my way down Hamilton Street
I heard her lock the door behind me.
Click, click, click,
Father, Son and Holy Ghost.