richard pierce

richard pierce

21 November 2017

Shoes

You ask me to send you money for shoes.
I send you a pair you’ve left here.

As I’m looking for a box to put them in –
You know how bad I am at wrapping –
I come across a bag of sweets,
Those tangy chewable ones you’ve always loved,
That I left in a drawer in the kitchen table and forgot about,
So I stuff the bag into one of the shoes,
Scribble a quick letter,
And seal the box with the tape I find
Under the table,
After searching the whole house.

And I sigh the sigh that presages lost tears
And wonder what your thoughts will be.

Those sweets grow a memory
On my walk to the post office;
That little boy with the strange tooth,
With the fevered smile I thought was death approaching
Until the cold went away;
The little pedant with the high-pitched voice
Conducting his own birthday parties;
The growing guardian angel
Always there when his sister needed him.
The boy who ran away.

And now you’ve lived a quarter of a century,
I wonder what time has done to us all.

I often think you mistake my concerns for you
For an absence of love.

It’s the opposite,
And unconditional.


R, 14/11/2017
For O, a late birthday poem

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