gloss, shiny as a skating rink
dripping with spring invention
down the north London sun-stroked suburbs
and all around the falling blossom
drifts in piles into kerbside and drain
to wait for the summer rains.
All this quiet lapping from tin to sill
in the hands of refugees looking for a ladder up
the cockroaches and crumbling frames
of their old towns and new box rooms.
Her hands are red and soft from washing
in the basement of this newly painted mansion.
the fireworks exploded over Hampstead Heath
she was face down on the bed sobbing.
As her employees argued and shouted at the kids
she tore her last letter home to pieces.
wiped her eyes and clung to the fresh
white glossed sill, felt her blackening eye
as it reflected in the perfect shine.
Thunder like distant raids rattling the pane.
rings round a shiny target and it's yours
amidst the clatter and pop of fairground stalls
burning like a new constellation fallen to earth
clutched the small plaster skull in my fist.
A booth trinket. A choice between that
and a fading, chipped plaster angel fish.
moved on. My father and I.
Past a mud splattered generator pumping
grey clouds across the dark wet grass.
thing I'd ever won. 12 years old.
I found it last winter. Turned it up in an old box.
Then noticed the carved inscription on it.
made all those years before.
11th September 1971.
held it as my father, now in his seventies,
bent to the garden, back to me
and cut away at the heavy clay soil.
flint, chalk and clay, turning over again
as my own thoughts spiralled back over the years
to the dusty stubble fields of late summer
my step granddad and his collie
arcing in loops across the Oxfordshire fields
tracking imaginary pheasants and hares.
dog that ground to a panting halt
saliva dripping under the kitchen table.
So we too shall come to our end
our skulls, man and beast
flaking and turning to powder in the black soil
like this skull, a plaster moon, thrown at the stars.