Single Mum

I know I am
your single mum.
Your friends have
dads and you tell me
often, that
you feel like
a stranger in your
own social circle.
It must be hard to
be a leper in
a land of dual
parenting,
and paternal genetics.
Happy, wholesome
smiling family snaps,
when you live in
a testosterone
depleted zone.

It wasn’t always
faux joy selfies,
just the two of us.
Conquering the world
with our Colgate smiles
and mum-son
bonding.
Looking like
the world was made
for just us two,
and fleeting glimpses
cannot magic
fathers’ faces
on iPhone imagery.

I am not in
the land of
mice nor men.
If I could conjure up
the ideal role model,
I would paint your
life with
gentle men and
honest souls
and the heart of
a saintly martyr.
Knights fighting fearsome
dragons and
brave soldiers
(camouflaged anxiety)
dedicating their lives
to an ethical cause.

I cannot raise
fathers from the dead.
It is hard enough to
keep memories alive
when they are stored
deep within my mind,
and not yours.
But one day you
will understand that
once upon a time,
there were three
of us.
Not this brave
little duet.

Sarah Drury 2021

Empty Chair

Written for my late husband, who passed away almost ten years ago.

As the warm,
comforting glow of
Yuletide shenanigans,
wraps itself around
my melted heart.
As the last candle on
the mantel,
sings a soliloquy and
melts into new
incarnations of its waxy self.
And the ten years since you
rendezvoused with
the light side,
I see your chair
all empty there.
Missing you.

That last Christmas.
Heaven knew
that the angel of time
was pausing
her inhibiting breath,
whilst you cherished your last.
We gasped those last months
in expanses of
winterscape lungs.
And I don’t know
but I’m sure the universe
painted our visions
titanium white,
what with the snow and
cerulean, stark winter sun skies.
I see the space in our bed.
The place where once was
mortal.
All empty there.
Missing you.

I knew you’d be here.
And you were.
Amidst the shreds of gaudy
and rips of tearing carnage.
Presents from a widow’s
best efforts.
Brave smiles, well-rehearsed
after ten years of
Xmas dinners for two
and only one big one
at the table.
Playing secret Santa
and making all the
responsibilities
look easy.
There should’ve been
Frolicking with crackers,
and snapping away
our feigned hilarity
as we tossed lame jokes
into joyous memories.
But turkey’s for two
now.
Your plate all empty there.
Missing you.

Sarah Drury 2020.

Poppies

With respect to those who have served our country in the armed forces, especially those who have given their lives.

Today is Remembrance Sunday here in the UK. Poppies are laid at the Cenotaphs around the country to remember the fallen.

My son, who is autistic, stood beside me holding my hand, in a rare moment, and respected the dead and those in service. I was so proud. I wrote this poem…

Poppies

Our two hands, entwined.
You don’t often grace me with your silence.
But today, ten million poppies bleed.
As they died,
these heroes of men.
In fields of fortitude and flowers.
With wives and mothers.
Sisters and brothers.
Children.
Lovers.

Today,
scarlet paints a promise
on our hearts.
You stand there,
in the image of your soldier father.
All gallantry and valiance.
And my heart defies my eyes.

I never asked you to stand beside me.
‘respect the dead’, you said.
And you did.
And I wept.

Our two hands, entwined.
You don’t often grace me with your silence.
But today, ten million poppies bleed.

Sarah Drury 2020

Black

It was a black day
and it was a BLACK day
I, the newly widowed
clothed in blackbird feathers
Shining like a mirror
reflecting fallacies
not faces
Swathes of blackish sorrow
consumed my
eiderdown of grief
Whilst collective tears
pooling
at my crushed stiletto feet
like seas of emotional
effluent
How many truly cry
when others
snivel in consolation?

*

Coffins muffle the
sonority of
grieving mouths
Damping down the
exaggerated pulse of
blood red hearts
Barriers to paradise lost
remind the dead
not to breathe
For death is
breath without lungs
and mortality is life
without living

*

We didn’t have a church
for you would turn
in your fire-ash not-grave
Phoenix smiting from
the flames
the Godly fallacy
Singing godless psalms
of Elbow
and Eva Cassidy
I wished I’d listened
to your heart
for the reggae in your soul
I painted on my face
of have no feelings
Cherry lips set in
a rigor mortis pout
Spider eyes kept dry by
waterproof mascara
Emotion
Emotion
Emotion
Less

*

And my love is
ash
I am married to
a brown plastic urn
And the wedding rings
don’t fit anymore
Me with my
disconsolate finger
You with your hands
busy playing harps
in Heaven

©2020 Sarah Drury

Stacey

My name is Stacey
I am hard as the knuckles
on my father’s hand
When his gold sovereign ring
kisses my lying teeth
With a glint of what he calls
tough love

And his Doc Marten feet
dance on my nail-hard flesh
Painting green and purple
masterpieces with
splashes of red
A canvas of abuse but
he says he loves me
And love is precious

And his eyes cut into
my heart like a surgeon
nonchalantly considers
a newly deceased cadaver
I have to look away
or iron palms will smart
my punch bag cheek
But love is like that

I think my life is tough
But at the end of the day
it’s for my own good
My father says
I’m a fucking little bitch
But he will break me
and make me

But he’s birthed a monster
with his fists of fire
and his hands of hate
and his feet of fury
and his temper of turmeric

I am Stacey
I am hard as the knuckles
on my father’s hand
And I am as broken
as the glass greenhouse
where my father
shouldn’t throw stones

©2020 Sarah Drury

Image by Pexels from Pixabay