Small Stories

The stories are too big to lose, to ignore,

too small for you to notice.

They sit, here and there, dotted
around the landscape, fading from memory.


cops and robbers,
ring around the rosies.

Dodge ball,
hide and seek,
among the dusty bluebells.

Games I forgot, and people too: now I'm old— and so are you.


You look lovely.

That colour really suits you!

Green. Green is beautiful.

Have a good look.                               

 It is actually purple.

Ach, stupid me, So it is.

Purple is a lovely shade of green.

Bye Bye Baby

Her anxiety is immense, and I don’t know what to do about it. Does she want me to stay? Does she want me to go? Is bye bye baby just my name now? I tell her that I will be back in a few days. She is thinner now; I hold her hands, all knuckles and bones, and see the blue veins, the chewed fingernails, "uttering. She is still here, but for how much longer?

Family Secrets

All families have at least one. Shameful ones, dark ones, sad ones. 'Premature' babies born before they should have been; babies who looked like family friends, rather than their fathers; women who did anything to keep food on the table, when men couldn't or wouldn't work. Most of these secrets are harboured by women; they respect and fear them enough not to misplace or forget the secrets. !ey love the rest of us enough not to tell the secrets publicly.

I know what happens to families when the secret-keeping mothers and grandmothers die or, dementing, forget and are themselves lost. Families unravel, as if the secret no one knew or talked about was the thing that kept the family together. I hear secret things, things no one else has ever heard, and try to keep the secrets safe, because they might be all that my patients have left of who they were or were not allowed to be.

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