Glyn Maxwell

Father will be pompous but a good soul,
Mother will have her pan and grey hair
and get him out of scrapes. No he wasn’t
touching up that girl, IT WAS REALLY
a case of crossed wires! No he wasn’t
good at cooking but he did try hard.

It will last half-an-hour on empty nights.
For the rest, two white heads on parapets.
Mother will have her pan. A son and daughter
will know what we know, more than Father knows:
he’s touching her again! Here comes Mother
with crippled hands and her vague wishing look.

She takes time off from the washing-up,
to get him out of scrapes and into hobbies.
With five minutes to go he tries harder,
peoples the house with other puzzled men
in twos and threes. Who’s knocking at the door?
A man with Mother’s pan and her grey hair

on a plate of his. Son and daughter gone;
it gets funnier, the house will be brought down.
Churchmen come in gloves and solve a crime
that Father did, a killing, IT WAS REALLY
a case of crossed wires! No he wasn’t
funny but he did have the last line.