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