Night Duty

You were wheeled in at 20 past 12.
An ancient pupae wrapped in a white cocoon.
Boney and paper skinned,
your eyes were closed,
but your mouth hung open
in the o shape of shock. 

Images of your insides revealed your pain.
The doctors diagnosed,
then told the family the dread news,
while I drowsily fed futile drugs
into your veins
through the cold comfort needle. 

I watched your stillness and wondered,
did you turn gratefully toward the light,
or were you standing on the edge
of the precipice raging
against the injustice of life
completed, and yet, not complete? 

In your absence machines
amplified the mercurial beat
of your quivering heart.
Your breath shallow as a saucer
did not disturb the air as the weary night left
and daylight came, offending my eyes. 

Still I kept watch over your hollow husk
until I was sure you had departed for good.
At 8:30 I called to the whistling porter
waiting In the corridor
who came and wheeled you out
And then I left for home

The Marriage Dance

first dance

Remember when we swayed
clasped body to body,
drunk with love, while people
watched and cooed and cheered

Lost on our rocking boat
the dancefloor filled with friends
and excited children
without us noticing 

I trod on your silk skirts
with my clumsy left feet
tangled, we tripped and laughed
and were both indulgent  

The flowers in your hair
slipped and fell to the floor
and were crushed beneath us
and it didn’t matter 

Then when the beat of the music changed
we drew apart
we misaligned
and we mistimed the rhythm

That tender way we danced
it seems so long ago

 

 

Foreboding

wool

I’m picking at the thread
of my doubts and fears
The old worn-out sweater of
optimism no longer offers comfort
Now rough and scratchy
it torments me  

Even the night-time promise
of refuge is broken
Sheets are cold and harsh
and the charcoal night
only lights the fires of dread
My eyes won’t shut 

I watch the subtleties of change
And hope they are nothing
But the turnings of a ball
That the stitches won’t drop
And there will be no
unravelling

In the Park

Poplars throw piano key shadows
on labyrinthian paths

while the military flowers
nod together complaining of the heat

Kids paddle in the pool
sucking on lollies which stain their icy lips

Couples lay pink-skinned against the grass
too steamy to canoodle

Dogs leave trails of drips from
their dips in the lake

And no-one plays football
or runs for fun

I sit on the solitary swing
in my best red dress and rosy shades

and whilst I wait for you
all the world slows