My mother has always liked light.
As a young woman she plastered
the back of the alcove with foot-square
mirrored tiles and on the shelf
at the top of the electric box
she overlaid sheets of inch-square
mirrored mosaic. The evening sun
would cut the eyes clean out of you.
In the eighties she collected white
ceramic – doves, swans, ginger jars;
a gilded big-bellied buddha, smiling.
Jardinières on pillared plinths, bowls
shaped like an elephant or bunch of grapes.
Then came colour: pink flamingos, figurines
in blue ballgowns, Royal Doulton roses
with pastel porcelain petals and yellow
tubes of UHU glue. Several series of painted
plates with images of animals, country
cottages, all stored in polystyrene
and certificates of authenticity.
After entering the next millennium
she moved to a flat, bringing boxes
of unopened purchases to store
in her new sliderobes; reflected
in their doors were mirrored drawers
and a shiny dressing table on thin black
lacquered legs, topped with three
hinged looking glasses. She found
the QVC shopping channel on the new TV
and began collecting jewellery – dazzling
diamonique, sparkling silver and polished pearls.
We moved all the mirrored furniture
to her care home room. She still likes
an abundance of ornaments. Has topped
them with clusters of small Swarovski crystal:
pineapples; a peacock with glued-together
tail feathers; more swans and grapes.
Took more than the tiny room
could hold and built pillars of boxes
around her winged-back chair.
Noon sun creating rainbows
on all sides of her box room.
Gaynor Kane is a Northern Irish poet from Belfast. She has had two poetry pamphlets, and a full
collection, published by Hedgehog Poetry Press. They are Circling the Sun, Memory Forest, and Venus in Pink Marble (2018, 2019 and September 2020 respectively). She is co-author, along with Karen Mooney, of Penned In, a poetry pamphlet written in response to the pandemic (November 2020). You can find them all here. Follow her on Twitter here or read more at www.gaynorkane.com.