Consultations With My Mother


Pencil Drawing of ‘Two Apples’ by my Mum (with permission)

Continuing the theme of mothers and daughters I’ve asked my Mum to collaborate with me on a project called ‘Consultations With My Mother.’

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, as my Mum is a comedy genius, she just doesn’t always realise this!

Our phone conversations often follow along a medical bent, with a lot of laughing and chat around art and what she and I have been respectively up to.

I will try to post regularly about these conversations in a variety of prose and poetry forms and post pictures taken by my Mum of her art work and general observations…



I – Stumped


I saw the Physio,

she said, ‘It’s back.’


What’s back?


The Prolapse, like I said.


Despite me being a GP

My mother doesn’t believe

Anything I say about her health.


I’ve got a tablet,

To put in my fanny.


Excellent news,

I’m pleased for you.


Vag- Vagi- ?

Hang on, I’m just going



I rest the phone between ear and

Shoulder; listen to her footsteps.

(It was Laxi-do-do the week before)


Vagifem! Est –ra –di –ol

10 micrograms, insert every

Night for two weeks.


Yup. I know the one.


I was worried all night,

What if the thing had got stuck?


What thing?


You know, the applicator,

It didn’t go click.




I thought the tablet

Might fall out in the morning,

In the middle of my Pi-la-tes class


(The way she stresses the syllables makes

It sound like a Starbucks promotion.)


Well that would have been

Something to talk about.


It’s not funny Eleanor


Oh, it’s just the way

You tell it Mum.


Well anyway, my drawings are

Coming on nicely. For the first time

I feel like something I’ve done is good.




Really good. I’ve got the magic touch.

These two apples, they’re brilliant.


You’ve always been

Good at drawing Mum.


Yes but I’ve never been happy before,

It’s taken sixty-four years for me to be happy

With something I’ve done.


You should send me a photo.


It’s never as good as seeing them



Well, do it anyway.

I’ll frame them and put it

On the wall.


No. They’re not that good.

I’ve got everything lined up

Against the skirting board.


I just bought a Tortillion.


A what?


Tor-till-ion. It’s a rolled up

Paper drawing tool,

for smudging and shading.


I Google it: ‘Similar to a blending stump.’


You can make them yourself,

I watched it on You Tube.


Given my mother’s recent hysterectomy

And prolapse repair, something about

this paper ‘stump’ reminds me…


It stops the oils in your skin

Ruining the drawing.


Did they leave your cervix behind?




A cervical stump?


I’m not sure I know what you mean…


Ignore me, your Tortillion –

So did you make one?


No, the guy in the art shop said

They’re so cheap, it’s not worth it.


You’re still going to those

Classes then.


Oh yes, I’m the best one there.


Of course! 


Send me a pic,

Of the apples I mean.


I’ll try. You know,

Me and computers.


I think you’ll manage.


By the way Mum, how would

You feel about me recording

These phone conversations?


She pauses.


Well I don’t think I’d say anything.


No, didn’t think you would.

I won’t do that then.


I’d prefer you not to.


Fair enough. Bye Mum,

Speak to you next week.


The consultation over,

We go our separate ways.





Poem copyright Eliot North (2016)