Votre Cœur – Lois E. Linkens

My latest piece on FVR for February’s theme of ‘Home’:

FREE VERSE REVOLUTION

My stupid heart

Liked the meals at half-past six; red wine, raspberry cordial, sparkling water.

The old paper birthday-bunting worked for Christmas

And the toasted sourdough held its scrambled eggs

Like a raft for royals – yellow as mustard, sprinkled with salt.

Salt and pepper shakers, smooth as eggs,

The old piano, the creaky step;

The dust behind the sink, congealed with plastic lids,

Nail clippings, toothbrush fibres, glitter. Half-burned tea-lights

On the edge of the bath

And peeling turquoise paint.

China plates, painted, hung like paintings. I took one down,

To clean the speckled walls – and it broke, clean. It’s in the study.

That bit of carpet that never stays sharp,

Even moments after hoovering, dark, sultry green like the forest floor.

The basket of spices, and the knob

Of root ginger in the fridge door like a gnarled toe,

Washing-up rotas, church next door.

Mum can’t sleep…

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Donna [Seven]

noah.jpg

Outside the house is a big rock,
Painted with hand prints.
‘It’s true,’ Ken says, tearfully. ‘Where’s the van?’
‘Outside my house,’ Rick admits. ‘There wasn’t anywhere to put the stuff.
I said I’d pay, if they’d leave it there overnight. I didn’t think… I didn’t think of this.’

Ken places his hand on Jackie’s photo.
‘She’d be ashamed of me, really. Gambling.’
It seemed
That the reconstruction changed Kiera’s mind,
About the whole place, and about Donna.

Ken watched in his wheelchair,
A Blanket around his knees, a pipe in his mouth.
He still wore his dog collar, under his scarf.
They made a plaque. The lake still froze over each year,
And Donna took her walk with her litter spike to clear the path.
They put the windows back,
New ones. The five thousand, with great blue fish. The ark, the walls
Of Jericho,
With golden trumpets.

‘We could use a little more profile,’
Mary said to Rick. ‘Perhaps,
A reporter. They could do a story. Local Village Church
Resurrected by Lottery Win.
The congregation would boom, I’m sure.’

 

Donna sits on the back row, in the quiet. There are muddy
Tracks down the aisle. The winter light
Is cool. They bought new cushion covers, all red. Blocks of congealed blood,
Or ruby,
Depending on her mood.

Donna [Six]

lottery tix.jpg

‘You take it, alright? I wouldn’t know what to do with it.’
Kiera showed the ticket to Rick. The van
Was parked outside. All the items were being packed,
The brown chairs and the green Bibles. ‘You just watch the television,
And if these numbers come up, you’ve won.’

‘I won’t have.’
The numbers didn’t come up. They sat on the sofa,
With cups of wine. That should have been it, really.
Finish the wine,
Make up the sofa bed for Rick,
Switch off the hall light. Take a shower,
Scratch the feet. But as the water came, just a little steam,
The phone rang. ‘It’s Ken,’ said Rick.

Donna [Five]

Kiera slept soundly,
As the night.
She was beautiful, on the pale blue pillow.
Now, it was seven years.
There had been other women, and a few men.
Kiera had tripped
On the church steps,
When a piece of stone
Dislodged
Beneath her foot.

They stood together, thinking of the colder days ahead. No school groups came
After November.
When Kiera’s mother died,
They knelt on the cold cushions.
Donna’s bore a green-gold tree, Kiera’s some other pattern.
A tile
From beneath Donna’s knee
Shifted.

As they pushed to their feet,
A chunk of ceiling crashed, leaving them coughing
And spluttering in the dust.
‘God!’ Kiera shrieked.