Taking Her Out
I’d drive her out each Sunday, and we’d park
and watch the frigates sail. I’d buy her tea –
she’d add a nip ‘for warmth’. Sometimes we’d talk.
But often we just sat. We sat for years.
Long years of grey October skies. Destroyers
came and went. Tankers hulked on the horizon.
Radios tinkled from the beach. Children played,
and children drowned. She sat there with a rug
tucked round her knees. The sea was flat, the sea
was always flat; the sky a gun-grey arc.
The Café closed. Her eyes grew fish-opaque.
I never knew what we were looking for.
Cigarette Holder, Cocktail Length
When she died, they gave it to my father,
wrapped in tissue in an Asprey’s box
with her broken watch, her powder compact:
the only things not sold after the War.
Holiday gifts for her were always easy:
cellophaned bricks of Silk Cut, Duty-Free.
I never wondered – why not scarves, or gin?
My father had never mastered the forgetting:
how Granny played the long-since-gone piano,
while Grandpa sent him scavenging
for dog-ends in the street.
I don’t know why I keep it.
I touch it: ebonite, embossed
with lead-white flakes of skin.
One of those red mornings
……..sun scudding a salmon sky
my eyes filling with sound
……..planes trailing grey tunnels of roar
…………….birdsong scrawling on air
……..our words……beautiful frayed ribbons
I drop you at the station
……..drive home through wind-scoured lanes
prepare to binge on winter
Sally Douglas’ first collection, Candling the Eggs, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2011. She has been published in various poetry journals, most recently in Under the Radar and Canto. She was a winner in the 2015 Exeter Poetry Festival Competition, and starts her MA with Lancaster University in Autumn 2016. On Twitter she is @SallyDPoet.