Time, time, time

One second, maybe two:

Her head up close to mine

Her mouth stretched into a yawn

Her milky breath igniting

Some long-ago memory of porridge

Two years:

Since I last saw my parents

School friends

Breathed in

The foamy layer of a pint

The Irish Sea

One hour, thirty minutes:

The length of a Netflix documentary

about a man and an octopus

The revelation that a mother octopus starves herself to death

to save her offspring

made me cry

Hours upon hours:

Stop-start feeding on the couch

My body itching to move, trapped

Watching television

Reading books

Sending Whatsapp messages

34 years:

Since my mother gave birth to me

All of a sudden

I feel desperately old

as I hang up laundry

unglamorous sweatpants

black boxer shorts

a tiny knitted hat

Seven weeks:

since she arrived

in the early hours of a mid-October day

It was a Sunday

40 hours:

After my waters broke

Soaking the maternity jeans

I borrowed from a friend

Two hours:

The length of time I was outside the house today

The longest stretch without her

I had to go to the gynaecologist

When I got there

my boobs were

rock solid

with stored-up milk

You need to pump

the doctor said

50 years:

before we’re in a nursing home, somewhere

By then, my husband says,

our daughter

will be feeding us

Two minutes:

The length of time it took to make

this evening’s dinner

half-price spinach and ricotta tortellini

from Lidl