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Things You Don’t Know

Mary Lee-Slade


You didn’t know I was looking the night

I saw you naked in the baby bath.

My lungs were full of Scottish sea air and

unable to sleep, I snuck out of bed

and tiptoed to the camper’s stable door.


My stubby fingers clutched the fiberglass

as I took in your sideways-zed-shaped form.

Your hair-covered knees grazed your grizzly beard

and your cracked, tobacco-stained fingers fought

to contain them in the pink plastic mould.


Mum’s cheerful chuckles had tempted me out

from my sleeping bag to investigate.

And there in the torch-lit canvas awning,

hovering over you with a suddy sponge,

her laughter lines carved out her happiness.


You’ll never know how much that moment meant

or how she’ll never smile like that again.

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