The week before I’d given my pleated dress away
to a woman we met at a party. We sold the denim
trousers to get the coins you can’t get at the bank.
For weeks we’ve been at it: burning small piles of papers
in the kitchen sink with a candle – early evening so the smoke
would mingle with the smell of cabbage rising on the stairwell,
the sound of crying children, footsteps, clattering pans.
Twice we walked, hand in hand, on moonless nights
to the old skating rink where we put letters under the back seat.
Friends have hidden our books under their floorboards.
We’re agnostics, but last night we prayed for heavy rain,
sleet, hailstones, early snow even: weather that would
keep neighbours at home, the guards inside their station
hugging a mug of tea and smoking cigarettes.
Now we see each other in the cracked hall mirror, tight
lips, trembling hands, suddenly not quite ready to leave,
but the bare bulb casts a halo of courage over our heads.
I’m based in Manchester, UK. My poems have been widely anthologised and published in a range of magazines. My first collection Another Life was published by Oversteps Books (2016) and a second collection Nothing serious, nothing dangerous will be published this autumn by Indigo Dreams.