My mother’s arms were strong enough to hold you
as you pushed backwards
your body unlike other babies’
curving inwards like a shell.
She told you stories
about Georgie, the boy in a picture
cut from a magazine
and pinned to the wall of her tiny kitchen.
She fed you scrambled eggs and rusks
and sang nursery rhymes.
The only way you could speak was to shout
spitting food across the floor
but she laughed, holding you closer
my handicapped blue-eyed girl
with those extraordinary lashes sweeping your cheeks
and my blue-eyed mother, perhaps
from the icebound edge of Arctic Russia or from the steppes
laughing together, singing, each in your own way.
And my mother told me to wear make up
dress in vivid reds and blues, use perfume
so that I would light up your world
as you illuminated ours.