Up at Nancy’s

Nancy's

 

Up at Nancy’s

 

You ruminate – as the wheels spin on a mossier stretch

of the cobbles – on how they’d never build a road like this

these days, all the way up the hill to where field and moor

merge indifferently into one another, where the improved

becomes the unimproved. They wouldn’t even build a house.

 

She’ll be long dead by now, of course, so there’ll be no more

of those illicit cans of sweet stout skulking in the refrigerator,

rubbing shoulders with the UHT milk cartons; no more

coal-black surprises coiled in the plastic commode for you

to deal with. No more memories of George, ‘God rest his soul’.

 

She’ll have stopped wondering what might lurk about the upstairs,

where she last went over a decade ago, when her knees

were still behaving; stopped smiling in that borrowed way

of hers, with those flawless dentures, that surely belonged in

someone else’s mouth. They never mirrored the eyes.

 

This property would benefit from substantial modernisation

bleats the brochure from the auctioneers. The images show only

the views across the dale on a high pressure, July afternoon,

and the centuries-old defiance of the stonework. Not the interior.

No mention of the ghosts you know you’d be sharing it with.

 

 

first published in The Interpreter’s House, issue 66, 2017

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The Interpreter’s House

TIH1
This week I received a copy of issue 66 of The Interpreter’s House magazine, which – as well as being a lovely thing – contains a poem of mine entitled “Up at Nancy’s”.

It’s amazing to be in the company of so many stellar poets, and I’m very grateful to the editorial team of TIH for choosing to include my poem. Subscriptions to the magazine – as well as copies of individual issues – can be purchased here.

Wee Lachlan at five

Wee Lachlan

Wee Lachlan at five

You can’t imagine the time he’ll be an old man,
and spend warm evenings folded into park benches,

cursing the aches that crept up unannounced, wiping
a brow whose furrows grew when no-one was looking.

His face will have become an onion, cheeks weathered,
and his nose broadened, all skirmished with veins.

The mustard hair will long have turned bone-white,
but his eyes will have stayed the same giveaway blue

as his superhero cape. With luck, the smile will still be
written through him, like his name threading a stick of rock.

 

first published in Right Hand Pointing, issue 105, 2016