Today I called my pó pó. Now in her 80s, she lives alone in a small town in West Yorkshire, England. It’s a place I associate with smells of food and sounds of laughter and shouting. A lot of different, conflicting emotions. Despite her years in England, her English is not the best, although she has picked up certain Yorkshire phrases. She will say “thank you, love” to people when they are helpful and “tarra” to give quick goodbyes.
I live in Glasgow, Scotland, in a tenement flat with a cramped kitchen and a permanently cold close. Today my pó pó said she was confused why people can’t come see her anymore. I offered to call her more than the once a week I try to manage currently, but she told me not to. She said she doesn’t want me to worry.
My pó pó struggles with loneliness at the best of times. I worry what the added isolation of lockdown will do for her mental/emotional wellbeing. “When all this is over I will come see you” I promised.
“Thank you, love” she replied
“Take care of yourself pó pó”
“Tarra!” she said
and then she hung up.
Sean Wai Keung is a Glasgow-based poet and performer. His pamphlet
'you are mistaken' won the inaugural Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition
2016. Visit seanwaikeung.carrd.co for more.