I’m led into another patient waiting area
where visitors aren’t allowed.
On the wall there is a faded print
of the girl with geese. We had the same one
in the hall back home when I was a child.
A painting my mother loved.
My consultant isn’t happy with my blood pressure.
She looks at me and says ‘tie back your hair,
put on your own pyjamas, write your poems
and don’t scare us any more.’
Nobody has spoken to me like this
since my mother died.
Of course it turns out to be excellent advice.
I take a wrong turn on my way out of the hospital
and find myself in a corridor with paintings
donated by somebody’s widow. I feel dizzy,
blood pounding in my chest. Suddenly my mother
is holding my arm saying, ‘Don’t worry,
we’ll just follow the signs.
I know the way out of here.’