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

Six Weeks

It’s the six week school holidays here in the UK. I know the kids have been off school for months, but this is what it is usually like where I live. I don’t live in a fancy area. People round here don’t have much money, but they make the best of what they’ve got.

Six Weeks

And the panic sets in.
Six weeks.
No school.
No routine.
No rules.
Kids decorating public spaces.
Grown ups fighting
over seaside parking spaces.
Fists flying in fury.
Mums antagonised,
dads are lairy.
Kids are weary,
praying to the toilet fairy.

Making ends meet.
Poor kids playing out on the street.
Bit of Kerby,
game of footy.
Pulling scabs off knees
and
grans whose eyes can’t see
who broke their bloody window.
Finding 50p on the floor,
wanting an ice-cream
but needing 50p more.
But yer mum’s a tight cow.

Nice kids might get summer breaks
in Mallorca or Ibiza.
That kid from the posh estate that
thinks you are beneath her.
She might wear fancy trainers
and her hairstyle might be neater
but you have your freedom.
You have your street cred.

Mum doesn’t care
if you’re on your Xbox every day.
She’s given up trying to
get you off your arse to play
with the rat pack,
who own the streets.
With their knock off phones,
and their reproduction Dr Beats
headphones.

Beans on toast again today.
No fancy dinners this six weeks,
no free school meals for the holiday.
But burgers are fine,
and chips are fine,
and pizza is fine,
and sausages are fine.
And if they’re lucky,
mum will buy choc ices
from Iceland.

Teenagers loitering in shady spots.
Girls slobbering over which boy’s hot
whilst boys parade their sexual prowess.
Who’s shagged who,
which girls are sluts who
don’t care less.
And there’re the strong and the weak.
And the bullies rule the hierarchy.
And the meek and the weak,
and the quiet and the timid seek
refuge.

We live on social media
in these days of no routine.
Posting pics of our little lives
and checking if you’ve seen
and liked
that pic of our imaginary happiness.
Likes are love but
self esteem and ego rest
on the ultimate test
of those little love hearts
and smiley emojis.

It’s six weeks.
Six weeks.
Six bleeding weeks!
Mantra: I AM STRONG

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