Just Pretending, by Sally James
Thursday, August 30th, 2007
In the hall his anorak lurks
with sleeves that wrap around
the waist of mine.
Once he had things in his pockets,
crumpled receipts from the petrol station,
battered wage slips, scraps of paper with
mobile numbers scribbled in pencil
and other things men like to have,
just in case. A couple of nails
for the gate he never mended,
small parts for his Landrover,
coins that had seen better days,
a damp box of used matches,
and in the front pocket with the zip
there was a compass on a cord,
and a ragged map of Wales.
His scent lurked in the seams,
under the arms, around the neck,
and traces of his beard nestled
in the hood, wiry, ginger
and curled like a question mark.
The odour has faded now, disappeared
like the colour of my hair and the glitter
in my eyes, but the curve of my mouth
is still the same as I cook the evening meal,
listen for an engine rattle,
a cheerful whistle, the familiar
squeak of the front door and the sound
of footsteps in the hall.