poem with audio by Melissa Mann

the bag she keeps her mind in

hangs off
her zimmer frame,
the crash barrier
that goes everywhere
with her.

she’s sat down
on herself,
a high seat chair
with her name
written in blue biro
on a strip of Elastoplast
stuck to the backrest.

ninety three,
maud braithwaite is
one of a dozen
elderly residents
strung in rows
across the day room
like worn beads.

the bag’s in her lap now,
her fingers and thumbs
worrying the zip
trying to get
at herself.

she pulls out
a package,
saying to no one
in particular
that her mother
just gave her it
and wouldn’t take
any money for it.

it’s a silk purse,
vintage,
with a silver clasp
and sequins
hole-punched
out of rainbows.

it’s wrapped in
a pair of white
disposable pants

“to keep it nice
‘cause everything nice
spoils.”

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