This is one of the many poems which appears in A Child in the Middle.  I kept my own ‘poetry diary’ of my search for my birth parents, only to discover – when I finally met my mother – that she, too, was a poet and her work is included as well.


Write about an article of clothing


What would it have been, this article of clothing

that you would have left me? You who left

everything behind.


Let’s speculate, shall we, you and me

together, both ignorant of the answer,

and of each other?


Perhaps the glove you wore so that you

never felt my skin and I never held your



or the hat which masked your eyes

from the instinctive gaze which might

have made that act impossible;


or the nightie

and the green gown? Or was it a vest and stained

pants dropped on the cracked lino of a shared bathroom?


I don’t know.


Maybe you wrapped me in a perfumed silk scarf,

hoping one day I might pass an old lady

and say,


that scent reminds me of someone

I think I knew once, you tightening the knot round your collar,

neither of us any the wiser.