The Poetry Kit MAGAZINE



Response Poems 







A Long Time Ago

by Carol Sircoulomb



he came back


no eye contact

speaking at me

so different

from the person I knew


for better or worse

is what we said

how much worse can it get

today like everyday

I did all that was asked of me

when it was asked


the bicycle rang at the garage

I opened it

took the beer from the basket

just like always

but the bicycle was thrown

my way full force at my head


a blinding light

came into my eyes

kind of like a tunnel

blurry though

it seems like the better

part of for better or worse





by Stuart Nunn
She’s come back after her long absence
and seems astonished by the change in me.
Every day I catch her looking at me sideways.
“What happened,” she asks, “to your bicycle?”
It’s standing rusting in the garage
on its flat tyres, but I haven’t the heart
to hit her with the truth. “Where did you go?”
I ask her. Her answers are different every time
and slide away down some dark tunnel of fiction.
One day, for better or worse, I’ll get it out
and we can freewheel down the slope
of our old age. She’ll perch on the handlebars
like a great bird with sleek, flowery flanks.
She’ll shriek and kick up her heels. “And this,

”we’ll say, “is as good as going downhill gets.”




Not Dead-and-Gone

by Lesley Burt


 Grandma spears crumpets

on a brass fork;

toasts them by the front-room gas-fire.


I make the Chinaman’s head

nod on the mantelpiece,

while she sings jolly verses from The Mikado.


She wags a finger

at the dark picture in fancy frame –

Victorian child, in schoolroom corner,

punished for broken slate –

scolds her: ‘Gertcha!’


Less fun when Grandma

starts to forget my name;

washes her hands for ages,

even nowhere near the sink.


Scary, when she pees on the floor,

picks her nose,

talks to me as if I’m her (dead) sister, Lizzie.


Singing and laughter stop.

Her piano stands in intrusive silence,

open lid a wide grimace

that bares stained, yellow keys.


Grandma hides somewhere

behind matted hair

and querulous questions;

definitely not dead-and-gone.