Agnes, in her front room
turning up bars on an electric fire,
telly on full – someone screaming blue murder –
as the last light of a winter’s afternoon fades.
Agnes, her skin sprouting potato spurs
the size of old threepenny bits.
Gnarled fingers round needles
busy making baby bonnets.
Agnes, in cheerful woollen stockings,
tartan slippers, out in her garden
in search of loose frogs.
Or at her stove stirring blancmange,
rice pudding, plum jam.
Agnes, aged one hundred,
remembering her daughter
who would have been eighty-five
if she’d been allowed to keep her.
The boy stopped clearing leaves
to stare at the woman. Her hair white
as his mum’s best tablecloth,
lips, brighter than any baker’s icing.
When she rested her hand on the window,
he saw inside her skin: life lines.
Not caring if he came to grief,
the boy picked his way over.
What’s your name? she said. Don’t be afraid.
It was as if he’d only been sleeping;
the way those silvery waves came –
electric and forbidden.
around a town square,
sprawled on marble benches.
Useless rumble of ordinary life.
Heat, and they shed jackets,
but not hats.
Kit bags slung across shoulders.
Newly shined shoes,
no trace of desert.
a black clad woman.
after the loss of a son;
refusal to go down,
tug to be in the aftermath.
Belinda Rimmer has worked as a psychiatric nurse and school counsellor, taught dance/drama, creative writing and poetry in schools, and for a time lectured at a local university. Her poems have appeared in various magazines, including, Dream Catcher, Obsessed with Pipework, Sarasvati, The Broadsheet and Brittle Star (pending). Some poems have made it online too – Poetry Life and Times, Open Mouse, Writers Against Prejudice and Ground. She enjoys writing short stories (though not as much as poetry) and recently won the Gloucestershire award for the Cheltenham Story Prize for a story about the town’s infamous Banksy painting, GCHQ.