She is a wafer-thin girl

looking serious,

but dreamy

waiting to be called.

Her friend

squeezes her hand,

too tightly,

he has no say

in this.

The doctor

walks her through

the procedure

noting her age,

her weight,

her dreaminess.

It shall take

twenty minutes

to end the life.

Which shall

be buried

in the memorial

garden beside

the hospital.


You needed the curtains shut

so no light could shine.

I blacked out

the bedroom windows,

you still wore sunglasses. 

If there was a knock at the door 

you blanched, and sprinted

upstairs, and cowered

under your duvet,

until they were gone. 

I rocked you,

but the bad ghosts

stayed, and you

would sit 

hugging your knees,

I felt pity. As you

whimpered, broken.


I was fourteen 

I lived in an attic room,

my eyrie

high above the locked garages

of shopkeepers.

I gazed down on the walls

tipped with broken glass 

and a shed where grandfather

stored his precious things,

out-of-bounds for me. 

I woke early 

and tumbled downstairs,

dashed out the back door

for the bus,

which would be throbbing,

waiting. My eyes

scaled the heights 

to my top-storey window

where mother stood,

plumping my pillows.

School was wretched, cruel

but I had my solace

my place of mystery 

running back up those stairs

at home-time,

slamming my door.


Mist rests heavily on the hill 

like a moist glove.

The gardens are dew-sprinkled,

it is magical.

Power cables hang slack,

perches for preening birds.

And the fields 


freckled with livestock 

ruckle away into infinity.

We lived in an old house

with a round window 

and rats. It had a sweet 

smell. Engines shunted

in the sidings

below us, the motorway’s

arterial lights shone

like the coming of Christ.

Milk trains would wake us,

the whole house throbbed.

We rubbed our eyes

and the moon resolved

into a silver paring

hung in our window.

We were happy.

I have the birthday cards

you drew me


in a drawer.

The pastels fade

but the humour

is there, you always 

loved satire.

You’d find it funny

to be squirrelled 

between old paperwork

and emery boards,

brought out for anniversaries,

wept over.


I like to scrunch 

my drafts

and pitch them

in the fireplace.

Still secretive 

after all these years.

Then with a stick

I stir the flames.

The paper blazes.

And I watch.

I should like to 

mesmerize you too,

as my words burn

in the grate

and buoy 

in the hot draught

like black petals.