collection, The Men from Praga, 2009,
3rd prize in Arvon competition 2004,
Arvon International Poetry Competition Anthology 2004
ISBN 0 9543422 1 6
You served to carry my father’s civvies,
spare flying rations, pressure-suit, presents.
You brought us tangerines fresh from the tree.
After each tour of duty, you suffered
being flung on the floor, skidding on metal feet,
and slumped there, heavy as a body.
If you ever glimpsed the Vulcan’s purpose
above the clouds as you rode in the bomb-bay,
you held your peace.
From the childhood of your ID tag
you reproach me with mute loyalty,
your two handles like ears, waiting for orders.
Forgive me, you were always too heavy
with dirty laundry and official secrets.
I was never allowed to touch you.
Let me take some weight from you now.
Let me listen to the long yawn of your zip
as you spill out your puzzling odours
and I will try not to resent your shared journeys,
the long absences and whispers, the crises.
Unpack for me again the doll from Malta,
panpipes from Nicosia and tangerines from Tripoli,
still with their leaves, still cold from 50,000 feet.
Even empty, I doubt I can carry you.