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

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

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.

Ice Maiden

(Original art by Sarah Drury)

I’ve been here too long.
Sitting in this barren kingdom.
Breath exhaling, moist to crystalline,
and my lungs cascade.
Plumes of a pulmonary, lovesick swan.
Both yearning for a mate.
This colourless existence
bleaches our beauty.
The whiteness,
oh, the whiteness,
is killing me.

They say I have a frosty heart.
Icy, gliding frozen tears
like winter butter
across the surface of an artic lake.
And I taste like tender Eskimos
as I glaciate myself in igloos
and my door becomes a sheet of ice.

It’s been so long
since you held me in furnace arms,
my love.
I always dreamt of happy ever afters.
Never thought the crows of death would stalk me,
and I’m choking on black feathers.

I’ve tried, my love, I’ve tried.
Till my eyes were the glistening moon
and the sun dare not even
speak your name.
I’ve played the sorry widow.
Years floundering in the memory of us.
It was not just your death.
I died too.
The glacial landscape beckoned me.
Frozen teardrops my rendezvous,
and the ice-maiden took me
as her own.

Sarah Drury 2020

Heart of My Love

Heart of my love

I had the pink-dipped, love-tipped
heart of my love.
It quivered tenderly in my silk-gloved palm.
Like an Autumn leaf, mercilessly crushed under stiletto heels.
A porcelain breath was too strong for its fragility.

It used to pulsate within my lover’s rib-throb chest.
But the signal was fading, and mortality was quickly cascading.
There is no iPhone charger for a hearse-hemmed heart.
Only hopes and dreams,
as I drag my faith from the sacred of my sacrilege.

The angels had seen Jesus and his name was John.
As he swallowed stars and dined on cheese, with the man in the moon.
I showed them the heart and the heavens lamented.
They’d made a seat by the lord, yet the lord bowed down
to wash his life-ragged feet.

So, I ripped out the songbird
from the cherry tree.
It cast its beady eye and sang elegies with a smashed glass beak.
With resentment glinting, it was glaring at my psyche.
It was crushed in my palm and coveting the sky.

It sang of a pure, unblemished love.
Where virgins adorned the sanguine story of our hearts.
So sacred as the days when mortals were Prophets.
A gold-leafed lament, I heard the songbird sing.
As I released it from my cruel, artic-ice grip,
and it melted into the watercolour sunrise.

I had the pink-dipped, love-tipped
heart of my love.
Resting in swathes of my gossamer emotions.
Never had anything so delicate graced my gypsy, tealeaf palms.
But my crystal ball was clouded,
like the blatant truth of my fairytale eyes.

The heart slipped carelessly from my grasp.
Lilting through fingertips and sailing through oceans of sorrow.
I picked it up wistfully, slipped it in my pocket.
Hoping to mend it with silk stitches,
embroider a tapestry with a skein of hope.

And give you the gift of life
and hush the scorning songbird and his wicked songs
bleating I was a widow, not a faith hungry wife.
But I emptied my ears and knelt in prayer,
and clipped my turbulent tongue.

I had the pink-dipped, love-tipped
heart of my love.
I caressed its tender, brutal wounds.
I burnished it with solid gold and told it soulful tales of old.
He whispered he didn’t need it
anymore.