Came the Sandman
Evening crept – liquid chocolate...
dark and soft like the fur of a kitten...
the kettle – singing on black-leaded hob
while an old tin bath groaned on its hook
in the shed, as another Friday night
rolled around again.
Nan, in the kitchen; the slip and the slop
of a wooden spoon as she stirred the stew;
Mum working nights at the bag-wash,
as she often did. Beloved Aunt Rene –
sewing a pocket on a new pair of navy-blue,
school knickers, and soon it was time
for my weekly dose of Syrup of Figs.
Then Dad would get home from working
the late-shift; the smell of coal-dust
on his hair, and on his clothes.
He’d tell me to get a move on,
as he’d strip off for his turn in the tub...
cuff my ear, more often than not,
then sod off down the pub,
and how I hated him for being dirty...
still rubbing, like mad, smuts
left by his hand, from my cheek.
What did I know, then...
of the many faces of love?