Stuart Pickford




Mum’s Visit

The quilt’s growing across the floor
you say as we drive up the A1.
The scenery’s your evenings at home:
checking the phone for messages,
drawing curtains. The silence.

Then it’s your dad who ran away
to Mansfield with Aunty Mab,
whose best friend was his wallet,
who said you’d be ladding
if you joined the athletics club.

Wensleydale takes over conversation:
different coping and through-stones,
different stitches around fields.
Later, in the diary, rennet
draws the solids out of milk.

From a viewing gallery, we watch
the workers with carving knives
slice up a tank of curd
into blubbery slabs that are hauled
over to drain the whey.

My mother, you say, would keep
any milk that had gone sour,
place it in a muslin bag and hang it
from the cold tap; she made
the best cottage cheese ever.





Stuart Pickford is the recipient of an Eric Gregory award. His first collection, The Basics, was published by Redbeck Press (2002) and shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection prize. His second collection is Swimming with Jellyfish (2016) from smith/doorstop. Stuart lives in Harrogate and teaches in a local comprehensive school.

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