First Stay in Grandma’s Spare Room

His talisman against the night, an oven baked ‘striker’
lays forgotten on the locker, near his bed,
string snaking around a half-sucked humbug.

A million miles away.

His pudgy knuckles, white, clutch the edge
of acres of silk roses rambling
to meet vertical paper ivy that climbs and twines
until scythed by the ceiling.

As

high

as

the

sky.

He hears the glass shiver, with draughts through the sash,
and flinch from the fingers of skeletal twigs.
Sees trembling lace panels casting net shadows
which he’s afraid, if he blinks, will catch little kids
and keep them unmoving… unbreathing…

And then, the rasp of a match and a sibilant hiss,
the soft pop of the mantle and dark is made light.

Next door his mammy’s pot slides
on iced winter lino.
Shining his conker, he snuggles to sleep.

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