HAPPIEST ON HER BACK

my mother was a slut

who liked cute babies
and went on marches
to ban the bomb

her own mother
named her so
for leading men on
with her ration book stockings
and sooty eyes

I knew her
as a gentle woman
who never looked her father in the eye
nor my father
though she wasn’t shy

we drew on the walls
and bed sheets that hung on the line
trusting
that she wouldn’t mind
and she didn’t
as she worked on her taggy nails

my mother was a slut
her mother said
but
she liked me
and my sister
but most of all
she loved holidays
and men

IT’S A GRACIOUS THING

to remember the geraniums

on the second floor window sill
you can’t rely on the rain
to keep them in the pink

the shadows of dealers
fade into the cracks

in the long victorian grass
an old bathtub is a roaring barbeque
kaszanka and chuchu on a stick

so I grab a pint
water the geraniums
from a hard London tap

figure that the next heatwave
could change everything

leaning further
I mimic a bow and arrow
and take out the next cyclist on the street