She mutters to herself. Kiera
Is waiting at the ticket office, a squat brick building
Crawling with ivy.
Her boots are thick with mud,
Her black hair tucked into a soft hat.
‘Cold,’ she mumbles as Donna approaches.
‘Come on, then.’
The car park is silent. Kiera whistles something.
It takes them till Five to scrape all the stickers
From the lampposts. Donna sees
Another mess of carrots, scattered, probably, from the mini-bus window.
‘Leave that,’ Kiera calls.
‘For the birds.’
Donna gives them a kick.
‘How’d that happen, anyway?’ Kiera laughs.
They sit in the ticket office together,
Picking sticky residue
From their palms.
The place smells like coffee and printer paper.
They wait, as always, as the minutes tick past,
Till the big beige clock
Strikes the end of the working day.
Rick was in the car, the engine running, when Donna emerged.
‘You look nice,
‘It’s quite upsetting, really,’ she said
Over Cat Stevens.
‘What is?’ ‘The whole thing with Kiera.’
Rick stayed quiet, tapping spindly fingers
On the wheel. The sound was flat,
Like clay falling.
‘She’d never date.
She wants somebody with money,
Somebody who’ll sort out all the rest
While she marches about in the mud
Tossing bulbs and rabbits.’
Rick grunted. The song changed; Stevie Nicks,
The one about doves. Rick thought
About the television man, and the way he marked
Where the bookshelves
Would be, with clean hands. Classics, history, fiction, children’s, autobiography.
Books were important,
Rick supposed. But
It would fall to him
To tell the rest of the group. He was sure,
One more piece of bad
Would finish poor Ken off.
He asked for the whole of Jackie’s window
To be removed, so he could take it home.
Rick had seen the sorry shrine,
The burnt out tea lights
And brown photos. There was a faded wedding. Jackie
Had Puffed Sleeves and Ken’s dimples were deep