For my mum


The art of moving furniture

is best learned young

and from a master you can closely observe,

but also: it runs in the blood.


I watched you, first, for years –

how you’d move couches and tables

and tellies and plants, footstools and cookers and

fridges and beds. Not far, just enough –

to change the colour and feel and space

of the place

and your face

that would change too –

you’d shifted something.


I came of age and moved from viewing to doing.

At twelve, I could shift a wardrobe from one

side of the room to the

other, on my back, like the world’s strangest snail

I’d rearrange my space

my face

and what was behind it.


I turned my expert hand to the bedroom today.

I moved mountains – it was long overdue.

The view from the pillow now is new.

The lamplight shines on my other cheek.

My roots, repotted, sigh with relief

and it’s enough.


From under the bed, I swept out the dust of all my dead dreamings

and all the skins I’ve shed.

I know that the single curled hair of last year’s lover

is just a comma,

in the sentence of these remains.


I know that we can only change the things that we can change.


I get it of course from you:

this strength

this wisdom.


Thank you.