Life Is So Unfair by Maria Gornell

Between rasping breaths, she tells me life is so unfair
an oxygen tank beside her, an empty ashtray
Pills, inhalers, empty chairs.

Her frame bloated with steroids face contorted in
arthritic pain; bruised body from insulin syringes,
bluesy grey eyes lost sparkle.

She tells me life is so unfair I can only nod in
agreement; no I told you so’s adding insults to
injury that would be unfair.

She is sixty nine years watching fitter elders
climb mountains cruise around the world
while she sits and sits waiting for grim reaper
to appear.

Born in workhouse labelled bastard at birth
Catholicism forced down throat called mummy
aunt - lived between 2 homes, one poverty
stricken porn brokers delight other middle class
respectability – farce.

In evening red lights switched to service
rat a tat tat on door; the rest I’m unaware.

She mistook love for a back alley thrust
blood on his vest he whispered
‘You’ll have to marry me now’

No child of mine
labelled bastard she swore.

The beatings became worth a pay packet on Fridays
food in cupboards - worse the loneliness
she feared, the father she never knew.

Life begins at 50 she sang ‘simply the best down
a Welsh bachelors ear who showed her Sorrento
pinned flowers in her hair.

He never bought a ring when sickness/commitment
came mummy's boy ran for hills. Bitterness sets in.

She tells me life is so unfair foolishly we imagine it
will never happen to us; I sit rattled with fear losing
her feels so near yet I’m powerless to console her.

I ring my brother he’s off to watch the Derby
I tell him the news, he say’s
I hate fuckin winter.

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