Posted in Love

Maternity Leave

I had been seeing her eight or nine years, at least,
seen her go from packer
to checkout operator
to supervisor
to acting charge.
Supermarket staff, high school here : university gone,
but she had stayed.

Always….. woebegone
flat hair, hunched shoulders, dragged feet
eyes away and down
glumly rectifying prices, approving alcohol, checking refunds.
Still there was a devout honesty,
unfailingly upheld :
No counterfeit cheer
no approximation of smile
no insincere enquiry.
Nothing reached her eyes.

I could never quite remember why I had gone that way

and what encircled attention.
Perhaps it was the light
lace sunshine in riverside trees
and shining from the eyes of a mother
playing with her child. She looked so different.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.