December 2020

Twilight

there in the last glimmer

I see a girl run barefoot across the field

I see an old woman, hunched and bent, look up

and briefly, as the smile crosses her face

resemble that girl again

I see the cruelty of passing cars who

do not slow to permit the old woman crossing

their fierce lipped drivers dripping with venom

at the vulnerability of the ancient

I see the disinterest of those behind closed doors

watching their Twitter feeds like stock markets

of gossip and futility, forgetful of

the song bird who used to sing outside

and now does not

the sky has broken open like an orange feast

light pours out into darkness and indigo colored

clouds hasten to rush against the backdrop like

tired dancers exiting stage right

far away a man chops wood for his first fire of the season

a woman might be giving birth in a nearby hospital

couples squabble and make up, over dinner

the TV is muted, the street is awash with festive tinsel

and the occasional inflatable polar bear

one day we will be that girl rushing to gather her urge

against tall grass

we will also be that old woman, returning home

to an empty house with tall staircase

when they pass, we keep them alive through our memories

the old and the new

shining like new stars in a Winters sky

I see my grandmother’s there now

I remember their voices, mindfully reminding me

be kind

be kind

be kind

The savage rent

don’t put up the tree this year

because in different directions

festivity trickles, a sloe-gin reminder

of loss

wintered in the dyed hair of visitors

who pinch our cheeks and proclaim

you are healed

when we know

such things rarely occur

the savage rent may

gloss over with skin

a scar as smooth as ice

can cut despite its fragility

they hand out mince pies

to carol singers who stamp

their booted feet in earnest

whilst we have no need of lights

winking and ushering

memories best left unwrapped

she has gone on with herself

a banchee howling her moon song

like a new chapter in an old book

the leather worn and much used

but still the characters implore

one more story grandma

and I am mending old clothes

to fit around my leaching soul

as ice turns back to water and

skies reveal

another season

another set of rituals

this time I will not

hang a wreath and pretend

to usher the year in with confidence

sometimes all we can do is

darn the holes in ourselves

tighter, less gaping

almost neatly

though anyone looking closely

would see how they

sung and stretched

the fabric of us

perished beneath