I nearly collapse in the lift,
you locking your iron arm around my waist.
The doctors and nurses shift,
wary of this spectacle, this strange
mother-daughter trembling statue –
but you’re used to it by now.
The lift doors open,
I take in the white chemical corridor ahead.
The paediatric door wavers at the end,
the Final Destination
in this journey of self-destruction.
There, I know they will take my
weight, height, blood –
numbers which will determine my worthiness of help.
No courage sits in my heart.
That will come later,
morsel by morsel,
as my body is re-filled and my mind re-worked.
Now, there is only dread.
But that iron caress stays melded to me in pure, desperate love.
As I stumble down that blinding corridor
into the white heat of recovery,
through the grey blur of therapy
and clawing death-hands of relapse,
I never leave that anchoring embrace.
My piecemeal, quivering courage comes from you, Mum.