AF (1964 / Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, UK)

Innocence

Upon the cloth a single petal lay
Full red like blood
As early sun arose to draw the day
Skies white as late spring can
When cloud all covering
Stills the restless earth
And swallows reign.

Self-plain deal boards
Enclosed in Grandma’s sheet
(turned side to middle
witness to her wartime thrift
now serving as a cloth
in deference to mine)
abandoned
claimed
and planed
a table made
might once
have been a simple
marriage chest
could still see
service
as a coffin box.

As bloodied sheets declaring
rights of weddings will
declaim in parallel
that loss of maidenhead
once beautifully avoided
by John’s girl with purpled nail
So I,
(to hide a slight
reminder of the pain
replacing
thoughts of loss
with things to come)
have one black toe
repainted
Rouge et Noir.

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