The Poetry Kit MAGAZINE
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,
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.
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
through wash day skin
shine like rounded moons
on her fingertips.
His fingers tighten
as hers relax.