A softer hand

than my own (which remains sharp-nailed
despite filing, filing away
and pinches me all over or prods me accusingly
in the solar plexus, a drunk after a fight)

uncurls my fingers from the knock-ready fist,
and guides my retreat from that vast door,
step by step back along the path.
We close the gate and return to the street

A softer hand, lazy on the clock
floating a blanket in slow motion
pausing the picnic, all its chomping and spillage
Hammock, breeze, a stretching out.

A greener hand, bluer eye
Groundskeeper. A neighbour
to share a comfortable silence with
over the garden wall

A steadier hand on mine
held and held
til I can safely place my palm
on the cheek of the pain
and bring it close for the first time.

Published in the Eyeflash ‘Pills’ pamphlet

%d bloggers like this: