Each of those too-insistent clumps
of flowers dumped by roadside trees
and tied to lampposts that she sees
as she drives to work: twee, soft,
sugary repeats of bone and loss;

the blind man near the bandstand,
scrabbling on the grass, bag-in-hand,
for the shit that his dog hasn’t actually
left there; and the kid who tells him
in vain that the dog only had a piss;

the daffodils that open, piece by piece,
bit by bit, like a long, shy smile;
her scared-child and so-sacred joy;
and the peace that she feels for a while
as she watches them fade into winter;

the golden vase she found for 50p –
perfect – in the charity shop, the vase
that shatters when the wind blows
through the house the day they part;
a phone frozen by his voice to hers;

the aching surprise of the Dexy’s song
on an Essex pier; and of the kiss outside
the bar in Bonn; and of the condom
his mate put in her beer for a laugh;
and of the old path up a Florence hillside;

the rattling, rambling old house
that clings to the Welsh cliffs, the house
where they held the wake, the house
that, for a moment, is theirs for ever;
and dreams that fly them to childhood;

the coughs that explode as the play
is finished, coughs that take the place
of disallowed applause; the roar of love
and spat syllables as they fuck later;
soft whispers and urgings from above;

the small, misshapen stone she picks up
for luck, the perfect barroco to sustain
her at two funerals, kept there now
and forever in a woodwormed drawer;
and plain prayers at a father’s bedside;

the platforms she walked along once –
just once – while he still wanted her;
her hated dress, the one she bought
to impress him; and his jumper, the one
whose patterned crapness never mattered;

the soup left in plastic containers halfway
up Dinas Bran, left to sustain a man she’ll
never meet; the sick swirl in the stomach
during last night’s rain; and the vain,
wheezing search for a single green earring:

these are the musics of her fictional life
and the rubric she uses to negate his
every move; these are the voices that moan
in her brain as she makes her choice;
and the very last thing she hears is some poem.


(From 'Put Your Lips Together')