A Pilgrim's Progress
On the perilous journey
by Nicolette Turner
From kitchen to shed
Bent low past the window
Where she stands, vigilant, washing dishes,
He dreams of sweet rewards
At journey’s end.
Strong cold liquid from his stash.
Smoke a fag, inside, sheltered, sitting on
Fragile stool, precious throne
In his secret kingdom.
Then, on tiptoe, see over fence
Icy cool young widow
Takes in her washing
Bends low watering flowers
Then retires to empty house
And lonely bed he dreams to warm.
No one comes here
Safe from even the jade Princess, who locks him out
With his vice and dreams; as if
This solitary, blissful spot, ten by six,
Is not his love.
All week he dreams but never dares
Come here; for desperation would
Then, Friday night, delicious and free
Drives home from hell
Tasting already heaven.
But first, cautious, steals silently, tremulous, out the door
Through the thick fog of her smouldering resentment
On the perilous journey from kitchen to shed.