She’s done the settlement at last;
Her husband now is on his way —
When suddenly the plot’s more complex.
Mother has arrived to stay.
Not just the normal cheering up
Or checking out the children’s tricks.
At eighty-four she’s ‘got a man’,
Still vertical at eighty-six.
They want the double bed, it seems,
Although they’ve yet to ‘tie the knot’.
The daughter is a little miffed
But settles for a lesser spot.
Mum and boyfriend after lunch
Decide to have a ‘quick lie down’.
The daughter at the kitchen sink
Cannot quite undo her frown.
Unbearably, they’re standing there
Ready for a friendly clutch.
‘Don’t worry,' whispers mother, winking.
‘He doesn’t quite get up to much.’
Of all the small humiliations
Life bestows before you’re dead
The greatest is your mother and
Her boyfriend in your double bed.
Or that is what the daughter thinks
Staring at the spare room ceiling —
As down the hall she hears their voices
And her bed, fill up with feeling.
from Darker and Lighter (Five Islands Press, 2001), © Geoff Page 2001, used by permission of the author. The recording is taken from Coffee with Miles (River Road Press, 2009) © Geoff Page/River Road Press, 2009