LAST GIFT

A poem by Melanie Whipman, inspired by a skipping rope that was handed down the maternal line of her family. Illustration by Constanze Moll.

My grandchild peels back
The frail layers
Of vein-blue tissue,
Slides her fingers down
The long twisting rope,
Takes the palm-worn handles,
Smoothed by my mother’s
Grip, then mine.  

I wish I had time
Enough to watch her skip
To the schoolyard chant,
To smell the tarmac,
And see the soft smack
Of her plait on her back.
And the puff of dust
As the rope kisses
The ground.  

To feel once more,
The rhythmic ease of skipping feet,
Watch the endless circles
Of the scything loop,
The flare and fall, flare and fall
Of her skirt,
Soft as a caress,
Against the sweet skin of her knees.

'Last Gift' was published in our 12th issue, The Time Issue, which has now sold out. To ensure that you never miss a future issue of the print magazine, subscribe from just £10 a year.