Couple at the bus shelter

Holding her shoulder

white knuckle tight

he’s her knight

in High Street clothing

she’s his queen

his bleeding heart

pushing the stroller

playing her part

her eyes dark

exhausted from

the ding of the bell


Round one


The slam of the door

as toddler screams

they’re in the ring

he’s in her face

his beer breath roar

its Queensbury rules


Oh no it’s not

their gloves come off

then its playground

jeers and fisticuffs

and the ding of the bell


Round two


She’s down on her knees

poor scrubber mopping up

the morning after

their post pub

late night last orders

break-up vows

behind closed doors


Yes when he’s sure

she knows who’s boss

she’s hit rock-bottom

she’s lost her spark

yes when she’s just

a little bit smaller

than the day before


The whistle blows

final score 1 – nil

then the ding of the bell


Round three


They’re making up

with baked goods

and pack ups

with dinner dates

wrapped in love

and daddy’s home

every night

let’s celebrate with

happy hearts and

roses round the

cottage door

even though

they both know

there’s more in store


There’s tears in

her eyes as they

sit too close

clinging together

on the blue plastic bench

in this bus shelter

waiting for

the ding of the bell


Round four



Lost pieces

The first day after my granny broke

I held her hand

she whispered that

a man behind the chair

had scared her


the week my granny broke again

she held my hand

she told me stories

from the war

and talked about my Grandpa


the month my granny stuck

on shuffle and repeat

she asked about my dad

she whispered that

a man behind the chair

had scared her


stuck on shuffle and repeat

my granny sat

whisky-tonic in one hand

staring at the corner


she asked about my dad


I held her


time stopped when my granny died

I cried the day we buried her

now she and Grandpa lie side by side

they do the crossword together

Dia de Muertos

In a geriatric garden room

dozing with the nearly dead

we hull one hundred pumpkin pips.

The knife slides through the orange flesh

we carve the nose, a spooky face,

our spectators sit transfixed.

My entertaining ten year old

holds the prize aloft and captivates

the crowd, his cheeks burning.

As he charms them, I can only think

maybe he will relive this scene

one day with his own offspring.

And I will watch them, half alive

half of me already on the other side

as outside, autumn leaves fall.

Cake eaten and tea drunk

it’s time to hug my gran goodbye,

as we do, her eyes dull.

(Oct 2013 Dedicated to my wonderful granny x)