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

Easy

It is not easy
being so sentient
in an anaesthetised world.
I try and fold my feelings
into little origami ships.
Hope they will sail
nonchalantly into
a world where
life doesn’t sting,
anymore.

I can pretend it
doesn’t hurt.
Pretend I have a
heart of polished granite.
I can pretend that feelings
must only feel like
fireworks in the
new year’s sky.
That to feel is
to loiter somewhere
on a permanent,
spiritual high.

But I know
to be real
I need to feel
the stain
of salt kissed tears.
To sing the pain
as it washes through;
it never stays.
And I know I am there,
sometimes.
Origami ships are fragile,
and my skin is like
tissue paper,
and I absorb
the world at times.
And it can be too much.
Sometimes.

But,
it never stays.

Sarah Drury. 2021

Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh
on TV again.
Real people with
real lives.
Devoted husbands,
unemployed,
brewing tea
for working class wives.

The air is dark,
darker, darkest,
coaxing thinner, thinnest, thick.
Undercurrents
swimming like
revelations from an
emotionless brick.
Rich in mundane complexity.
Painting simplest simplicity slick,

with connotation.
Rare to see a
privileged education,
rattling amongst the
state school accents.
Real people,
real lives.
Car crash fortunes,
Scripted accidents.

Mike Leigh
on TV
again.
Real people with
real lives.
Living for the
in your face
realism.
Peddling pain
with the blades
of blunt knives.

Real people.
Real lives.

Sarah Drury. 2021

Strange

Strange

I must be strange.
That weird girl.
Covid raging,
people dying.
Maybe I shut out
the reality.
Maybe my eyes
see only the beauty
in the world,
when I should weep
and mourn
the ugliness.
But how can I
bear to paint
black
that which sets
free my soul,
as I bask in
the light?
My ears may
not hear the cries
of trauma,
but my soul does,
and I paint them
silent,
and pen them into
translucent echoes.

I must be strange.
That weird girl.
Covid raging,
people dying.
Maybe I shut out
the reality.
Maybe my heart
sees only the goodness
in the world,
when I should pray
and cry for
the desperation.
But how can I
bear to sing
in rhythms of dissonance,
that which sets
free my heart,
as I dance in
the light.
My soul may not
dance with
demons,
but my mind
sees,
and I shut my eyes
and paint the pictures
and write the words
and live in
my kaleidoscope bubble.

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.