Nine weeks early she went into labour
Mother rang me up to say to
Just half an hour before she was due
To finish for maternity leave.
Nine weeks early she said
Pete had popped round to tell her
After nearly losing both of them
On the way down in the ambulance.
Sculpting happiness from near tragedy
Across the salt juked snow that almost
Turned the ambulance into ice skates
And the road outside into a rink.
Barely holding everything together
You said he told you afterwards
Just sat there counting cold coffees
Like seconds on the waiting room clock.
Nine weeks early Mother told me
Shaking with a flinched nervousness
Leaving clues all over her pauses like
She had just walked through a suitcase of storms
And thought for at least several minutes
She would have to tell me I had lost
both my sister and nephew nine weeks early
Like she nearly lost me decades before.
Nine weeks early coughing in shock
She remembered previous generations
Where the hospitals treated her too
With fear like care all the way down
Weeks and weeks early with father working away
And stuck on a dodgy train from London
That broke down in Birmingham
Then again in Wolverhampton
And eventually in Crewe for good
Where he ended up getting a lift off a pig farmer
To the edge of Stockport where
His younger brother picked up him frantic
And both of their parents
Both white as sheet unsure
Whether she would make it
Let alone whether both of them
Leaving everybody sat there
In broken oceans of tears
As the doctor clearly stressed
Announces we’re both okay
His trembling arms
Acknowledging without a word
It had been a long hard bloody fight
Like it was 38 years later.
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