The Albatross

Kate Bass

About the author

Kate Bass grew up in North London, she studied chemistry at Edinburgh University and worked for the Patent Agency in London. Kate now lives in Cambridge, England, with her family, she is an illustrator. Most of her poems involve family, child raising and relationships.

The Albatross

by Kate Bass

When I know you are coming home

I put on this necklace:

glass beads on a silken thread,

a blue that used to match my eyes.

I like to think I am remembering you.

I like to think you don't forget.

The necklace lies heavy on my skin,

it clatters when I reach down

to lift my screaming child.

I swing her, roll her in my arms until

she forgets.

The beads glitter in the flicker of a TV set

as I sit her on my lap

and wish away the afternoon

I wait until I hear a gate latch lift

the turn of key in lock.

I sit amongst toys and unwashed clothes,

I sit and she fingers the beads until you speak

in a voice that no longer seems familiar, only strange.

I turn as our child tugs at the string.

I hear a snap and a sound like falling rain.

The theme

An albatross is a type of bird that mainly lives off of the water, they only go on land when their babies need food. The the reason why this poem is called The Albatross is because the boyfriend,husband or dad only comes back to his family on occasion. The necklace is a symbol of beauty. The mother puts the necklace on to be reminded of how she used to feel when she wore the necklace. As the poem continues the necklace becomes almost a burden, it makes loud noises when she picks up her child and they beads only glitter in the flicker of a TV set. In the end the necklace ends up breaking and falling onto the floor, as the relationship seems to be coming to an end.
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