A cold Saturday before Christmas,
Fatly layered like a fragile parcel, I nudge
closer to Mum, stealing her warmth
as the 88 bus inches towards Oxford Circus.
Outside, grey expressions on grey faces.
We link arms in cosy silence, a shield
against the jostling crowds.
A man whose grinning voice I don’t understand,
thrusts a baby monkey trussed in dog-tooth coat and trousers
into my hands.
Today, I find the photograph in Mum’s drawer.
Me smiling, the monkey motionless,
staring straight ahead.