Life at the care home
They sat hugging the late afternoon,
as minutes must, into the cramped corners
of the day.
Five started a game, only four remained,
twelve tiles placed, just three words made,
two hours had passed,
and they stared
on, out, into a hollowing centre.
There, behind, in white shirt, black tie
a man shoots a tv with a remote control
trying to find a path through
mouthing as he did so
names of people he once knew
And they say he had travelled, seen the world,
dodged bullets, most of it untold, and that he was
a glider, across every town's floors,
and that every lass turned their head
for his hips, his lips, his picture flick's kiss.
two trolleys bone-shake the room,
brimmed cups tip tea to saucers
soggy biscuits elbow out
like Sunday morning's bingo prize.
Outside, day heaved shadows through windows,
like mainsails folding,
succumbing to an evening drift, which
still hung as dust in half-drawn curtains.
Visitors came, forced bowed heads to rise, and
one son unwrapped a gift for mum, who
picked at cellotaped edges, trying not to tear
And there - a box, a musical box,
hiding within, a ballerina once lost
'for you...yes', he nods.
Her mind ignites, she sips the thaw
the key released, she sips some more,
and she stretches up on through the room
pirouettes to every wall
spins up stairs, tip taps the hall
unpicks the locks, where souls still cling
touching the immeasurable of everything
she runs and leaps
till nothing's left,
and stiffening there
she bends and stops.
Now all’s quiet with the music gone
just as they were with the music gone
Young dancer holds so still, as though she never moved
as though she never could.