At the Arts Council in Manchester

And to think I was just about to complain about
the weakness of the coffee when my head turned
through the glass to witness the hearse arguing in traffic.

It was a standoff for sure. I knew this when death itself gave
up its ghost to breath beside me awhile, to show patience.
There was no rain, wind or violins. England will never be mine.

A gold coffin the size of a malt loaf, vibrating with the anxiety
of the driver’s peddled footwork, the cortege behind damming
the day to wails. Grief as performance art said a colleague.

The ghost recounted the story of how I had a sister.
“Things would have been better”, it whispered.
She had a name, Teresa, she was older than me,
lived three days, it’s all mathematics, apparently.

What would my parents have talked about on that morning
of the funeral? Would they have held hands, was the radio on?
I’ve always hoped for love on the settee through the tears.

The ghost sipped my coffee, made a face of disdain. The
hearse pulled away to Piccadilly, a parade to disbelief.
I returned to my meeting, the one about tangible outcomes.

◄ If I Could Take A Day

Leaving Upton Park ►

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