By Jane Weir
Three days before Armistice Sunday
and poppies had already been placed
on individual war graves . Before you left,
I pinned one onto your lapel, crimped petals,
spasms of paper red, disrupting a blockade
of yellow bias binding around your blazer.
Sellotape bandaged around my hand,
I rounded up as many white cat hairs
steeled the softening
of my face.
I wanted to graze my nose
across the tip of your nose, play at
being Eskimos like we did when
you were little. I resisted the impulse
to run my fingers through the gelled
blackthorns of your hair.
All my words
flattened, rolled, turned into
slowly melting. I was brave, as I walked
with you, to
the front door, threw
it open, the world overflowing
like a treasure chest. A split second
and you were away, intoxicated.
After you’d gone I went into your bedroom,
released a song bird from its cage .
Later a single dove flew from the pear tree,
and this is where it has led me,
skirting the church yard walls , my stomach busy
making tucks, darts, pleats, hat-less, without
a winter coat or
reinforcements of scarf, gloves.
On reaching the top of the hill I traced
the inscriptions on the war memorial,
leaned against it like a wishbone.
The dove pulled freely against the sky,
an ornamental stitch. I listened,
hoping to hear
your playground voice catching on the wind .