Capsicums are captivating.

Slice them into slithers

decore them,

sprinkle the seeds.

Bite into their crisp

fleshy traffic-light colour.

Fry them

till they sear.

Eat them

until October comes.


You wheezed

you spluttered,

the tiny-tot nurse

looked alarmed.

I had run

to the canteen

to grab

some vile coffee

while you laboured

to breathe.

Behind your head

the monitors

played acrobatics;

the junior doctor seemed

overworked, was curt.

A geriatric patient

trollied in before us

stared vacantly at ceiling tiles.

No one had pulled 

her flowery curtain to.

I wondered,

would we be going home

today, or anytime soon.


You wore baggy clothes,

whispered like a nun.

Perfume never graced

your skin

which was perfect 


You solved

the algebra of the stars

while we did our

small sums.

Your music flowed

inside me

like a warm brown river.

I never envied you,

you were too immaculate

for that, cleaner than

dewy roses. Better

than this world.

It is befitting

to wear black

and a veil.

There should be rain,

to dampen

the clods of earth 

as they spatter

the wreath,

thudding hollowly.

The burial of the dead

must have dignity.

Who would ever dream

of shimmying a relation

from their grave sleep,

like you did.


The cold pinches her eyes

which have seen many things

I could not imagine.

She wears a tatty housecoat,

lounges by the front gate

accosting passers-by

for a word,

for a smile.

To becalm

the emptiness inside,

the embers of her life

flickering against the flowered wallpaper.

The Past

Shovelling white ash

from the fireplace.

It scatters on the

black-brick tiles,

making dirty smudges.

You cannot erase such dirt

only move it around.

So stoke some roaring flames 

to absolve your grubby fingers

blackened with the past.

Watch them consumed,

folding up

like scarlet petals.


Father fascinates me.

That man could wield

a snow shovel,

clear a path

through blizzards.

He never drank,

smoked occasionally,

sometimes a cigar.

I would watch him

wreathed in a nicotine fog,

loving it.

When the sun shone

he glowed too.

A matchless giant

invading my dreams.