9th Sep 11
and in the shop…
Ward Wood (2nd edition. 1st edition, 2009, bluechrome)
It’s just you and me again, sister,
with seven storeys between us.
My baby can’t sleep
so I hold him here on the balcony
where mosquitoes love me.
At your post by the kerb
you’re a goddess –
black skin gleaming against
the red flare of your dress
in lamplight, moonlight
and approaching headlights.
The wives are already one month gone
to holiday homes by the sea.
There’s no need for your pimp to linger
moulded to that tree trunk
on his time and motion study.
You squeeze the short red tube of your dress
into a production line of Fiats.
I worry over your empty slab
until your stilettos cross it and you
squat by a tree,
roll up your hem like a stocking
and clean out the last client.
2am. I put my baby in his cot
then stay here with you.
My husband expects me awake.
The throb of the lift and jolt
of the lock is him, jarring the silence.
He will pull out a wad of notes
from his shirt – count half for me
with a licked finger.
All week they’ll give off
a sweet smell of sweat
passed to them from the hands of men and women
and the hot damp pockets they’ve lined.