My mother is dying.
Time has run out for us, for her.

Hard to know if telling her I love her
yet one more time, a habit I discovered late
makes a difference.

Perhaps a little.

She turns my words over in her hand
as foreign coins
she has been told have value
that she does not really recognise.  

Her generation, a woman of her class,
didn’t use that word love

that was for actresses, Hollywood

My mother rationed it like electricity, food

enemies had to be beaten, bombs avoided
fires put out

Love would be shown
in a more practical way
through duty, service.

To cook, clean, breastfeed
work, save  
that became the point, what mattered most

 It was unpatriotic, indulgent to talk of love

when it was obvious
in the accumulation of things, repeated

Photo by Daniel Tafjord on Unsplash

Alan Hill

Alan Hill was born in the UK and immigrated to Canada in 2005. He is the former Poet Laureate of the City of New Westminster, BC (2017-2020), former president of the Royal City Literary Arts Society (RCLAS), and was the editor and curator of A Poetry of Place: Journeys Across New Westminster, published in partnership with New Westminster Arts Services. His writing has been published both in Canada an internationally. His latest book , 'In The Blood' , was published by Caitlin Press in 2022.