Sam Szanto

When I Dream Of My Grandmother She Is Not

rigid in her maroon velvet chair
beside cabinets of Royal Doulton statuettes
in an overheated flat she hasn’t left
in the twelve years since her husband’s death,
watching the news and quiz shows
as she waits for her sister to bring food.
The highlight of her week
is not when Wendy trims the sparse hair
around the lump she won’t have seen to
because she’s scared of GPs,
she is not ignoring Wendy’s theft
of the rings her own fingers are too swollen to wear.
She is not presiding stiffly over M&S high tea
served on faded blue scalloped-edged plates,
telling my father his jokes aren’t funny
while my cousins and I make faces
when no-one’s watching

she is rising alone, pirouetting to her balcony
to throw her sapphires onto the street
as the audience gazes, she is laughing,
stretching her hands to the lights
around the pier before arabesquing
over the railing, hair streaming, to plunge
into the sparkling blue.

SAM SZANTO lives in Durham, England. Her collaborative poetry pamphlet ‘Splashing Pink’ will be published by Hedgehog Press in 2023. She has had poems published in a number of international journals including The North #68. She won the 2020 Charroux Poetry Prize and the Twelfth First Writer International Poetry Prize. Her debut story collection, If No One Speaks, was published by Alien Buddha Press in 2022.

More by Sam Szanto:

Author’s Website
Poem at First Writer
Poem in Impostor Lit
Buy Sam Szanto’s book