"Grip Stick": a new poem by Mark Granier

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The man emptying bins on the prom might be my age,
though healthier looking, tanned, bare-armed
in a hi-vis jacket and black ski-cap.
He plucks at stray bits of litter with that familiar
metal rod with its Dalek pincer – the same

as the one I bought for my mother in Fannin’s
some years before she died – a gadget
so starkly ingenious surely it’s a branch
of a family tree of similar inventions, of Bakelite,
whalebone, leather, wood . . . going back, back

to that afternoon in her nursing home
a year and a half ago, when I hold her hand
and feel it loosen then go slack, and call
the nurse, who says quietly “yes, she’s going . . .”
and I look out the window

to see the usual glorious rubbish, clouds
not stopping their tumble over Killiney Hill’s
huddle of slates and satellite dishes, while I am
abruptly in a different country – the vast
landscape of her open palm –

tiny in the grip of what gave way.

Mark Granier is an Irish poet and photographer. He is author of three collections
of poetry: Airborne, The Sky Road and Fade Street. His fourth, Haunt, will be
published by Salmon Poetry in 2015.

This article first appeared in the 04 June 2014 issue of the New Statesman, 100 days to save Great Britain