Fabric For Sale

Fabric for Sale

I pass through in the evening. Quiet now.
The wind gently rattles the metal shutters.
Enclosed behind the soft cotton, the spools of thread.

Only the syllables of footsteps sound through the tunnels,
dampening as they go, loud ahead. Muted mutters
and chants afar from the local beer and cider bar.

Some say if you’re still, if you hold your breath,
you can hear the echo of all sellers. Past, present, future,
each contesting wind, each rivalling the drawling traffic anthem.

“We sew, we cut, we mend. Fabric for sale in the west market end.”

You Never See The Truly Lonely

You never see the truly lonely.
Some unfortunate might frequent
the same cafe for three years.
Black coffee. Carrot cake.

Another might occupy the park bench
tight between the oak and dustbin,
glued with a book in hand,
bronze like a statue.

But it’s the people who never come out,
the people you never see,
who never taste the air or brine
or know of local news,

it’s them who are the truly lonely,
begging in the dark
for their quiet, hidden muse
to speak.

Perhaps We’re Mad

Allotment

We spent the day lugging dirt. My spade,
the shaft streaked with mildew, splintered
at the handle, still held strength as the earth flew
over my shoulder. The cutting edge still silver in the sun.

Each morning, they amble down. A flask of coffee,
some shortbread biscuits, and they watch from afar,
tucked in the shade of a shed, in the company of spiders
and pepper plants. They must think we’re mad,

to sweat under a beating sun, to develop the calluses
and spend the evenings aching with back pain.
We don straw hats, Crocs, pink gloves, yes, perhaps we’re mad,
but we can’t sit and wait for rain.

Tide

It was my idea to open the front door and let the tide in. The water was quick to
swallow the smaller things. Goodbye coffee table, farewell blanket box, both went beneath the surface and both were lost. You tried to gather the
sentimental items. CDs we bought together, photo albums, your
favourite dressing gown. You were trying to cradle them along
your forearms, clutching them tight with your fingertips
as the waters lapped your thighs and then your hips,
sloshing and slapping against the wallpaper,
the same we put up together.

It took quite some time for you to let them go.
I had to ask, knowing it’d make it easier.
Relax, I said. You sat in the armchair,
and before you could put your feet
upon the footstool, it was sucked
out through the front door and
inhaled into the sea outside.

Let them go, I said, and you followed.
The soft plop of things sinking from
your hands, plucked by the waves
hungry for more. Our fingers
locked and you smiled as
the waters finally took
the grandfather clock.
We watched as it tick
tocked it’s way until
we could barely
hear it, and we
were left with
our hearts
beating in
our chests.