The Girls

A summer evening,
                                        a rubber ball
thumped against a harled
1950s gable wall,

– and pitched between
chant and song,
our lasses’ rhyme: … plainy, clappy,
roll-a-pin – as we practised

birling round so quick
we caught the same ball
bingo! on its rebound – attuned

to its arc and Earth’s spin
as the gloaming deepened,
and one by one, we were called in.


Here comes the sun
                                        summiting the headland – pow!
straight through the windows of the 10.19
– and here’s us passengers,
                                        splendid and blinking
                                                            like we’re all reborn,
remade exactly, and just where we left off:
the students, the toddler, the tattoo’d lass,
the half-dozen roustabouts
                                                            headed offshore
                                                                                cracking more beers and more jokes …
Angus at midwinter
                                                            or near as makes no odds –
faint shadows stretched over fields of dour earth,
every fairmer’s fenceposts teased with gold.

The Stair

Nana you are not there, no’
hale in body behind the black door but
here I come coiling up the stair wi the paper
poke of ju’jubes and the Beezer you sent me for. Two landings

first then yours. I dart whippit-quick
past the toilet at the turn
in case there’s an auld
bogeyman hiding. Stone

gassy smell and though it’s twenty odd
                    years since the war, naeb’dy’s
bothered to scrape the black-out paint
off the stairhead window. Oh this was a bleak land then.

Nana will you not be there
                                                            in the room and kitchen?
Here is my wean’s fingernail, scratching a peephole to keek through.

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