On a lamp-post near the site
of a sudden, modern loss
someone spelt their grief in flowers:
M…U…M –
discomfort in each driver’s path,
desiring only destination,
no in-your-face reminder
of destiny  (‘Destiny? –  No!  Destination’)
of transience, of one who never made it past
snakes and ladders to 99.
A sister, daughter, friend, a wife –
all these things – but one role named.
How selfish our bereavement is.

Nearby, in The Hope & Anchor
a girl sits careless on a likely knee –
death – all gossip to her ears,
hears “last orders please!”
giggling, falls towards the bar –
she’ll not be cold tonight.

The landlord’s wife, framed upstairs,
a reflection, arms wrapped close around itself,
stares from a window back into the night.
“I can see right through you, girl!”
echoes from her past … and now she does.
She recalls a chance once had and lost –
sees, but without recognition;
reads as headlamps in a toy-town distance
her own flickering eyelids’ S.O.S.

© Caroline Fox Betts 2010

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