Though Lost to You

Yes, the days of our lives are like candles,
At once golden and warm then sallow and extinguished,
But not all candles stay snuffed,
Some reignite like dormant volcanoes
That unapologetically have become active,
Erupting in legacy –
Your achievements and mistakes,
Your days of pleasure or pain will fade.
As your mind dims, becoming dull with cataracts.

But the bright flame, though lost to you
Will be rediscovered by someone else
In words – translated words –
Which recall a furtive meeting or a closed room…

Our Day Will Come

He must have been eleven or twelve,
all shoulders and collarbone,
torso fleshless and stretched –
One morning, he had lifted an arm,
casually, and found a thicket of hair
which had sprung up overnight.

He had caught glimpses for a while…
in the convex mirrors of corner shops,
in the restless surveillance footage
broadcast on buses,
his scalp, pink, emerging through his hair,
his hair, regressing to the fine softness of a baby’s.

He goes through the stages they all do:
Wear it long (avoid the barber),
Spike it up (at the front),
Wear a hat.
Then, when the mirror offers irrefutable proof,
when the top of his head looks like
the lawn of a rented house in late summer
– patchy and unconvincing –
he shaves it,
leaving him only longing dreams of hair.

The Cheese Shop and the Rose, Muswell Hill

Consider the cheese shop and the rose-
One, taking a half shop on Fortis Green Road,
Is in everything calculated to please a certain set of eyes-
The blue green shade of the paint outside,
The Victorian glazing restored to its
Opaque and red chequerboard former glory,
The quality of their waxed cheese paper.
The girls behind the counter know the right thing to say,
If you have enough to spend
(Otherwise they can ease back into bickering).

Underneath a lime tree
The rose emerges from a near bare stem,
The flower like a delicate cabbage head,
In soft layers, off white with yellow staining,
The scent sweet like figs,
Not sharp, powerful-
The power deriving from its fugitive beauty.

Consider the cheese shop and the rose-
One is not the other.

The Clock

J. Andrew & Son Funeral Directors, North Finchley-
The shop front is sober in grey
Artificial flowers sit permanently on display and
Cream blinds shroud the office behind.

A black clock ticks in the centre of the window-
Fourteen year old boy walking with a girl who likes
You more than you like her
You too will grow old
And on the top of your head will appear
a patch of embarrassed baldness
Forever in view of the birds who fly above you.