Keeping Up


b and q

I had thought I was fast enough, despite the stick, until

that day in the DIY store – the massive one –

when I asked the nice lady in the orange apron

where I might find the hooks and hinges

and she led me to aisle number 23,

walking along, me behind, at her normal pace,

her well person’s footsteps clacking ahead of us,

my young daughter keeping up, marching time,

in the army of the able bodied,

both of them not looking back.


And then the child remembers, mum can’t walk like this, is she…?

Checking behind her, a glance to make sure I am….

Twenty or more steps adrift, trying desperately,

willing these legs of mine to speed up, try harder, keep up,

don’t embarrass us now,

but they fail me again,

and my daughter is torn now – her dilemma etched on her face –

between finding the hooks and the hinges and

keeping me company,

and as I drag my unwilling feet through the aisles

I wish

that she didn’t have to choose.

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