Enclosed – Sheet of Instructions

That parquet floor you laid –
you refused to keep to
Enclosed – Sheet of Instructions
It is now lifting and separating —

Your brushed-off mistakes –
of not taking time to bond – to glue –
to set – are now a dozen fault-lines
across our hall and living room —

You have posited tectonic plates
in each space – where you bent and knelt –
jagged shadows of slow shifts away —
Others’ prayers are with our marriage


Last Rites

His wife told him – on Sunday –
that she bedded another man –
last Monday –
A bloke who –
if named now –
would see
them both equally shamed –
before their shared families –
It’s almost bloody biblical –
He said –
It’s not their first go –
at such stuff –
they’ve done it before then –
and often –
Finding out last time –
his advice to his wife was –
Never again – Never – Please –
‘Cos of who – ‘Cos of place and
‘cos every other circumstance –
She’s away working –
He told me –
I don’t have a bleedin’ clue
what happens now – Sorry –
I needed to – dunno – offload –
Pretty crap stuff –
I nodded –
Then his gallows laughter –
Nice way to end a tough year!


 

The Village Hall Players

Three empty tables –
without decorations –
set equal – spaced
with sweated men
at squared-up ends –

They are quick to each
shot with fenced returns
off slightly comical bats –
facing up to their other –
posed low in a mirror –

with backhand – forehand
and wrist flicks of a ball –
that metronome tick – set
by the smacked kisses
of celluloid – rubber – wood –

measured eye-to-hand over
the stretched – pitiful – nets –
to gain advantages ruled-in
without any higher umpire
by meeting white-line edges

to beat an inverted opponent –
although both well-matched –
but not enough to claim a draw –
there is always only one winner
between men playing at tables