Born again

 

A man botched up from sticks and bone –
all angles, elbows pointing out,
and one leg twisted round its mate
like ivy round a tree.

As we come abreast of him, I see
the sleeveless denim jacket, skinny arms
pale and freckle -spotted, his white face
wet with effort, clenched like a closed fist.

“You’ll walk with me,” a child’s voice
slurred around the edges,
a statement, not an invitation.

We stand still.

He finds a solid anchor for his crutch
then drags his tangled limbs to follow it.
We move forward just an inch or two.

His name is Tim and he was born again
ducked in the winter river last December.
Three crucifixes hang round his neck
like winners’ medals.

The square is transient space , where every hour
a thousand different purposes collide
and split away. A place to walk across
or cycle through, which only takes a moment.

It takes us half an hour to get across.

We pause.

“ Born again” he mutters , “I’m born again”
over and over.

A child cries out – a yelp of pain –
head -high above the flinching crowd
pigeons whirr like shrapnel.
I watch them swing a circuit round the sun.
“Born again …” Continue reading

Lost Child

I still think of her, my nearly daughter,

who got things wrong way round

and died before she lived.


Clare Elisabeth. Sometimes I see her

in my dream.Always the same.

A busy street. She’s standing on the kerb
,
waiting to cross.
In her late thirties now
with thick ,dark hair,her mother’s eyes.

A clever woman, happy in her skin.


The road is full of cars.

She glances left and right

then looks across at me, bemused,

as though she couldn’t quite recall
 my name,
or where we’d met.


I raise my arm to wave, but then

a big black truck comes to a stop

between us. When I can look again

she’s gone.