A young woman named He tended the grave of her mother every Sunday morning. At 8.30 she took the first bus to the cemetery. A handbag for her mirror and her loose change to buy flowers at the cemetery florist. She had her keys and a bag with gardening tools - a trimmer and a black plastic watering can. The young woman named He looked in her mirror before the bus approached the last stop. He didn’t feel young when she looked in the mirror and arranged her hair, separated in the middle just like it would have pleased her mother. She picked up her long linen skirt to avoid tumbling down. One step at a time she got off the bus and the bus driver watched her walk away. The young woman bought a modest bouquet and made small talk with the florist who liked to tell her what he cooked for dinner the night before. Duck. Then the young woman said goodbye and disappeared among the gravestones to find her mother’s. She always used to get mad at He for having no sense of direction “just like your father,” she would say. The young woman found the grave and set about trimming the weeds around it, stopping here and there to catch her breath. She would collect the trimmed weeds and leaves. Like her mother’s skin, slowly wilting. The young woman sat quietly and drip, drip, drip, tiny drops of water fell on the gravestone. He looked at the sky to find not a single cloud there. The drops kept coming. She touched her face and found moisture on her cheeks, like the days her mother made her clean the cold marble floor barefoot for looking at the wrong person on the bus. “You will never find a husband,” her mother used to say. The young woman named He felt something in her eye as she was about to pack her things. Sore and stinging. The duct kept swelling and swelling. Something was moving. The young woman named He wondered why the tears stopped. When she arrived home to her apartment, she went straight to the bathroom and took off her clothes one by one and stood naked in front of the mirror. The young woman looked at her reflection and her mother looked back at her disapprovingly. He blinked and blinked to make the mirror show someone else. It was painful. When they found the young woman, her eyes were dry. She was lying on the bathroom floor, her body stretched out on the cold marble, glowing. Everyone talked about the heatwave that summer. The bees.
Nora Blascsok writes poetry and lives by the sea. She grew up in Hungary, but spent most of her adult life in the UK. Her poems have appeared in Streetcake Magazine, Cypress Poetry, Pink Plastic House, Daily Drunk Magazine and a couple of print anthologies. She has work coming out in Dreich and a Broken Sleep Books anthology in early 2021. Her Twitter handle is @NBlascsok.