Mountain Ana made the phone scream.
Squeal of a thousand and one pigs!
Fingers of pain…
Scratch my brain.
She is upset that Gramps has traded her ring.
‘Soz, Mountain Ana.’ …
When Gramps turned up wearing
Nancy’s gold ring,
Jenny thought it was a hoot.
Her hoot-face is for the moment still.
It possesses a distant smile.
Intuition – ‘just like Becky’s hoot-face.’
Becky’s sulk-face is adamant with indignation.
If she only knew how perilous it is to neglect the young.
…Our roles are reversed for the tale
of mum and dad and a kitchen knife,
which Fiona tells in sobs on the stairway.
Something I said has recalled her
feather streaked cheeks of pain.
and we go on up
to talk about
a tennis ball
turned inside out…
Becky speaks quietly
but her quiet voice banishes
distance like a shout,
“Josh, come back inside.”
Is this redemption, or merely the wisdom
of being old enough to know better?
With almost perfect symmetry little Josh
wants to take some flowers back to Mum.
He plucks from the two Laburnum
grown together over a garden gate:
or the strain of embrace,
stretching… to cleave?
The scent from the cups is intoxicating,
and yellow, Becky’s colour…
O’ my tyger tree,
will spread that smile
over lips which profess to disdain flowers.
…On the way back Josh has an idea: he wants to visit his Dad.
Regardless of content, our most intense moments have a habit of assuming ritual clarity.
Together, the figures our characters cut are colourful, and bright, and amusing;
the wheel-spinning white car which your mother read about in my story,
or Roma’s amber earrings,
Louise and Paula, uncharacteristically, dressed in black.
who plays football,
and for whom love… is too painful?
Did I really say that?
She wants to travel, or that?
‘Me too! ’/ ‘that’s how I drink’/ ‘I do.
If only it,
mimicking my mudra,
and Mimi’s mint.
I strike a
in my head…
For a time
I cannot face
the open sale of lace.
Becky is beautiful
but kind and cruel,
Her eyes flash when I call her a vamp,
and when I bad mouth her boyfriend.
“You make me laugh,” she says, “can I kill you?”
She has the hair of a teenage friend,
the eyes of an old love, the profile and
features of a desirable aunt, the body of
the goddess Parvati, and a smile like paradise.
Her mischief resembles that of a childhood adversary.
“I’m going to turn you into an ass,” she smiles.
Her hoot-face is reserved for her most cunning lies,
“I thought I’d see you there,” yet she still
succeeds in soothing the situation.
‘Does she really sleep with him?’
“I’m sorry about your Grandad,”
she says, like Mum at such times.
Warmth floods the room…
Gemma’s warmth as
she links my arm and
the world stops screaming…
You are an island dark with life;
A swan-hatched dream, taking flight;
A blue-shot cormorant, nestled in night.
Gemma’s warmth when she talks about
the sort of house she wants, her bottom
drawer, and the colour of Christmas decorations.
The warmth of a smile
when I look at her crotch:
earth / urge / air / care.
O’ for another storm stressed day,
when the sky spoke and
our world yielded… to rain.
‘I could have run much faster.’
‘You should have been here over Christmas.’
Of all the things
I’ll never get chance to do…
“So when do I get that drink you owe me?”
The warmth of silence as she threads the eye of a needle.
“I like your owl.”
It would have been a privilege
the rest of my days
It never was