December, crisp, a low light rising,
but Ray’s in a state of disintegration
since Mother’s visit.
‘Who you votin’ for, Ray?’
The constant refrain makes his glasses slip
however often he pushes them up his inherited nose.
‘Ain’t votin’ for no damn body.’
‘Don’t mumble, boy!’
His lower lip trembles, his eyes are hollow.
Mother’s lasers emerge from pinprick pupils
to gouge out black holes where his vision used to be.
‘They can all go to hell,’ he says,
but never in front of Mother.
Ray looks in the mirror.
His left ear is slipping.
One nostril pinches, the other one gapes.
‘You were never a beautiful boy,’
she says, and he’s waited forever
to hear he’s grown into a fine young man.
It won’t happen now. He’s old, but she’s older.
It still makes him cry, but never… never….
The Last Bed
The men are making the bed
she will die in.
They screw down slats, turn allen keys
working steadily, white tee-shirts, sweat.
an old mattress from the attic
stained with afterbirth, stiff
and lay her on it, cloth, shredded
skin around her. David and Neill
have nearly finished. They hate
to see her
homeless, they’ll stitch her
into the bed. She doesn't know
why they would show her
Last Flight to Nowhere
The plane sits in the sky,
awaiting the signal to pass through the doorway to an old city,
I query the situation: We will open the eyes of the blind,
explains the flight attendant. Free standard delivery and free returns.
It feels like cheating, because it is.
I am troubled by the vastness and emptiness
of these relics of better ways.
Across the aisle,
a terrorist counts his bombs.
There is a weight in my bowels.
When I mention this
to the woman in the seat beside me,
she says, what a shame,
and returns to her book with its leatherette jacket.
When the old laptops die,
they become prisons
for a portion of your soul.
If I ever heard you, I ignored you.
I have a few minutes left
during which time I will try not to kill any insects.
Say something gentle.
Surprise me. Remember me.
The plane shifts in the air.
Too late now for truth.
Catherine Edmunds is a writer, artist and musician from the UK, whose published works include two poetry collections, four novels and a Holocaust memoir. She has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize, shortlisted in the Bridport four times, and has works in many literary journals, including The Frogmore Papers, Aesthetica, The Binnacle, Butchers’ Dog, Crannóg and Ambit.