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Your Aunt Edna
had asthma
and she carried around
a big black

asthmatic mask
which frightened
the life out of you
especially when

she put it over
her mouth and nose
and her eyes went
big and dark

and she said
it’s ok Tony
nothing to worry about
it’s to help me breathe

and she managed
to laugh
and you kind of relaxed
and watched

as she sat down
and closed her eyes
and breathed in
and her breath

came back
of its own accord
and then she put
the mask down

and she was herself again
and her dark hair
was curled and wavy
and she looked like

an actress when
she wasn’t gasping
for breath
and didn’t have

that awful mask
over her face
and some days
she took you

to the park nearby
and watched you
run and play
or sat with you

on a bench
when she needed
to catch her breath
and you liked the park

with its tall trees
and wide green spaces
and the green
painted railings

that went all around
and there was that
gateway you went in
and you remember dogs

running and their owners
throwing sticks or balls
but you just sat
with Aunt Edna

as she put on her mask
to find her breath
and you and she
not knowing then

that hiding behind
the asthma
was ugly Mr Death.

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boy, aunt, asthma, mask, 1950s, london, death

I am an artist and poet, short story writer, dramatist, digital artist and photographer. I live in Sussex with my wife and four of my eight children. I am a grandfather of eight grandchildren.

My favourite artist are: Picasso, Warhol, Rothko, Klee, Van Gogh, Degas etc.

I am 64 years old and love the arts.

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