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A Clockwise Direction

I found that old wedding photo we lost 
behind a doll in our daughter’s room. 
Russian, as it happens, the doll that is -   
I can read some significance in that:  
so full of themselves, they miss the bleeding 
obvious. I wiped the dust from off its surface, 
made you 21 again and placed us 

on the bookshelf where P meets Q. 
I’d have liked it before your favourite author 
but her shelf’s too close to the ground.  
All my books are still in alphabetical order;
I wake at 7 to clean and tidy,
progressing in a clockwise direction,
starting at the front door and ending in the bath.  

I compare it to my parents’ wedding picture 
that’s hanging next to the dining room door: 
they’d a bigger cake, more friends and relations, 
dressed black and white, a formal occasion;
contemplative, no eye for the camera.  
My mother’s fuller in the face than I remember 
and isn’t that an ashtray beside the cake? 

I blow these pictures up out of proportion 
trying to discover germs of the future: 
leukaemia, cancer and emphysema 
buried within a forgotten Baboushka.
How happy we appear! My Mum said never 
had I looked so handsome, like Richard Gere. 
Perhaps that’s the joke I’m laughing at. 

Behind us I trace the faintest whisper 
of the tower blocks tumbled in ‘88.
As we’re cutting the cake, your face 
burns with embarrassment    
or anticipation of the sauce to come.
I can feel the grip that you have on my arm,
as if I might be the first to depart.  

When lights fade I think I can hear you breathing, 
but it’s central heating or a noise in the attic.
I close the windows to keep your scent in  
and reach out to touch an amputation - 
I said we shouldn’t buy a bed this wide.  
You never see pictures taken at funerals 
unless somebody important has died.

◄ Like Benjamin Zephaniah

A Day Unresolved ►


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Tue 9th Apr 2024 12:22

Thanks, David.

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David RL Moore

Thu 4th Apr 2024 07:31

Hi Penguin,

A sad portrayal of the routine and mundanity of survival.

Remembrance in the smaller things is often the thing that punctures the protective outer shell of our loneliness.

Sensitively written, lovely.


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