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Familiar Presence

My shadow –
growing shorter and squatter
under its wide-brimmed hat –
is the shape of my mother’s mother.

I remember her

in the morning
plaiting her long, grey hair
winding it into a bun

in the evening
singing songs from her bed
till I fell asleep in mine.
At five, I watched my mother’s tears
falling into the sauce she stirred.
Granny has gone away, she said
hoping I’d soon forget.

I never forgot.
Granny was always with me.
If the day was overcast
if I couldn't hear her
I would hear her, singing.

She’s with me still
and when the sun is overhead
we merge.

Liz McQuilkin collaborated with Karen Knight, Christiane Conésa-Bostock, Liz Winfield and Megan Schaffner in the collection Of Things Being Various (Forty South) which won the FAW National Community Award in 2010. Her first solo collection, The Nonchalant Garden was published by Walleah Press in 2014. Another collaboration, with Karen Knight, saw the publication of Renovating Madness (Walleah Press, 2018).