Patricia Foster(UK)

3 poems




Today’s sun prompts me to daub it

on my wrist, the pressure point

your fingers once played on.


A crisp floral scent. Sends me back

to last summer, un-caps moments, feelings

hibernated through long, numb evenings.


After you left, I chose

not to be reminded of piggy-backs

sun raining on shining foreheads,


meals alfresco with bottled cherryade,

cones dripping melted sorbets

over hands and sleeveless arms;


writing poetry under Greenwich trees

where you eased the box out of the Borders bag,

exposed the bottle’s curving glass  to me.


After you left, I packed it away.

The scent too sharp, too sweet. It stayed

wrapped through winter, last vestige of


your delicate fingers. You.

Today I press it to my wrist, same scent

but weaker now, it fails


to call you back. Spring’s

first sun evaporates

the old associations.


Makes space for new.

 © Patricia Foster 31 August 2003


 For as long as I can remember,

Pictured his smile in mine,

Where my full eyes came from.


The bus will take an hour; then

Ten minutes to climb

The long gritty hill,

Cooked in Jamaican heat.


Sat tight in cramped container

Its tyres pretend to take strain.


Weighed down by shiny limbed

School children, full-bodied women in

Spangled blouses, elders in straw hats shielding squinting eyes.


I smile as elbows and bottoms stick in

Unsuspecting faces,

Trying to find some balance.


I turn.

Framed through cracked window

I see my Granddad/him,

Waiting to cross the street.


I know it’s him…definitely is him.

Same features as mummy,

Same posture as me.


No one can tell me different.

It’s him alright -

From the one photo I’ve seen:




My cousin insists I didn’t see him.

Couldn’t possibly know him

From one, single photo.


Trust me.

I grab her hand; we get off at the

Next stop.


We run as fast

As Jamaican heat and humidity will allow

Legs to pump

And chests to heave.


We get nearer to the old man

In white shirt,

Chest high grey slacks

And trilby.


“Granddad?,”  “Granddad!,”.


The elder turns.

His face matches mine.

He looks on bemused. Then amused.


My crumpled baby picture

Drawn from his wallet -

His smile, broad, as he

Enfolds my teenage frame.


Holding, squeezing, dispelling

Years of family tears;



My visit…

Also yearned.


© Patricia Foster 2001.

With a Sleight of Hand
(What Mother Knew and I Didn’t)

In a quiet voice, she told me

she never liked him anyway

just after I spilled

our bitter past onto the floor

like Kola nuts tossed

with a sleight of hand

clattering hard

onto uneven

ground. His character

became an old iron statue;

rusty, tarnished.

As she spoke, snippets of him

were gradually revealed

to me in her trusty hand; iron filings

for me to throw to the wind

like I did with caution

all those months ago.


© Patricia Foster 2004

Patricia Fosters page at Volapük net