With an entitlement louder
than the posture of the young
our rehomed old boy twitches
his left eye and wills little brown
birds calling out Leylandii

to fly in through a three inch
window gap that prevents or denies
his certain death (depending on
your point of view) in the
bathroom of our top floor flat

My other half calls me cat too
but I’m unsure what he means
because conversation has
slimmed down
since we moved in together

although I have grown up
one dress size (maybe more)
so I purr into his armpit
in a gesture of submission
and talk to the walls instead

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