The Poetry Kit MAGAZINE



Response Poems 







The Bite Of It All

by Barbara Phillips


She stands on the Spiral Staircase to look

out over Butterfield Park and Grange Park.

Through evening -tinged branches, the screen

from the Scotia Bank theatre flashes images in blue and red,

while headlights randomly punctuate John Street,

as hip shoppers walk briskly, bags swinging.

Below the branches of the parks' trees,

pigeons step smartly over shrivelled leaves,

pecking at remnants of seeds, random crumbs.

There are no hand-holding couples in the Park,

but in one rounded angle of the staircase,

blocking traipsing art lovers, a couple is necking.


She looks out one last time

but does not see the elusively absent him.

So she ventures to the cafe on the fifth floor

for a capuccino and an almond cookie,

while she ponderes the comings and

goings of the staff zealously preparing

for closing time, as the lone counter person speaks

to an absent caller: "No we don’t have that;

I don't know why.  Anyway, we're closing.


Not far away, a man lies

on a black couch; he is dying.

His cries occasionally punctuate

the dusty silence over the stairs.

He has closed the door to his room -

his final message to his world.

No communication required;

I haven’t found the ones I want to be

here near me now


He rejects medical care;  even the tv

keeps him company less frequently.

Stealthily he makes his way to the kitchen,

late at night, to get water for his chocolate beverage.

He drinks it cold, painfully swallowing, retching.


In the garden, the stray black cat brushes against

hydrangea stalks; sniffs at the spot where the family cat is buried.





Love, Cappuccino and Almond Cookies

by Lesley Burt  



 traffic nose-to-tail along the High Street.


Café Soho packed:

shoppers with supermarket bags,


wedding-guests too early for the ceremony

at the church opposite the window.


A young couple share a bacon bagel,

drink orange-juice

without breaking eye contact;

he pats her thigh; she wriggles and smiles.


An older pair shuffle in.

She drops her walking-stick;

it  clatters under a table near the door;

people turn to look as they scrape into their chairs.

He goes to the counter,

without needing to ask,

orders cappuccino and almond cookies;

sits without speaking.


The young couple whisper,

mouths and noses close,

laugh, leave hand in hand;

the old ones sip,

watch the street in silence.


She bites her cookie

and chokes on a crumb.

Suddenly, with streaming eyes,

she gasps for breath.

He leaps up, pats her back,

dabs her wet cheeks with his napkin.


She recovers; he glances at her

now and again

while they drink their coffee.





Old love

by Sally James


His hands are coarse and cracked

soil embedded in the palms

dirt lingers in broken nails

there are calluses

where he gripped his spade

the gardening fork

with the weathered handle.


Her hand an autumn leaf

flutters in his grip

veins meander

through wash day skin

nails untarnished

shine like rounded moons

on her fingertips.


His fingers tighten

as hers relax.