the door out on to the balcony is locked
your son waves up at your face
at the window. I call daily despite
hearing the distance in the poor connection.
her name is Celeste you tell me
as I go through the checklist of questions
yes, she washes my mother, helps her dry herself,
find her clothes, eat and take her medicine
we don’t know where she’s from
perhaps there are some children somewhere
and a mother talking in a language
Celeste is on the way to forgetting
it’s hard to gauge the silences on the phone
are they fraught with resentment or
just half napping in the featureless days.
I see you surrounded
by the objects salvaged from a wider life
you won’t be able to take with you
Living in lockdown in France. Not published.