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Picture 10159707, photograph by Simon Roberts, image copyright Mary Evans / Simon Roberts

Mum waves a feather duster and dances, aged 82
by Di Slaney


but the best thing about all of this – better even than the buzz in her voice as she said how she’d gone out with her feather duster to dance on the drive alongside the little girls next door, and the boys one door down, and opposite the couple over the road who showed her how to move in time with the rest of her neighbours along that long sweep of crescent, people all dancing and smiling and laughing, laughing despite the danger of it all, people she’d only nodded to before but now her hips were twisting in line with theirs, her bottom jigging up-down, up-down, arms and duster waving high in the bluest sky surrounded by blossom and that flickering growing green, her pale cheeks flushed pink to match the blossom and how brave she was, to do that at her age, how glad she was that she’d done it and joined in, joined them all in one long wave of happy jiggling hope, happy jiggling bottoms, door-to-drive-to-door-to-drive – no, the best thing, the very best thing, was Dad edging forward from the kitchen to stand by the porch, tapping his slippers to the beat, clapping his shaking hands in time to the pounding joy in her heart



© Di Slaney

Picture 10159707, photograph by Simon Roberts, image copyright Mary Evans / Simon Roberts



Di Slaney lives in an ancient farmhouse in Nottinghamshire where she runs livestock sanctuary Manor Farm Charitable Trust and independent publisher Candlestick Press. Her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies, twice shortlisted for the Plough Prize and highly commended in the Forward Prize and Bridport Prize. Her first collection Reward for Winter was published by Valley Press in 2016 and second collection Herd Queen by Valley Press September 2020. She is poet in residence at Nottinghamshire Local History Association.


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