Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Jackie Hayes Poem Winner: Dancers, Avenham by Melissa Lee-Houghton

The couple were dancing, under the pavilion, grotty and not
unscathed.  In dark blue and black three figures lurched and held on
to each other like cannibals.
The woman held onto shopping bags, only half full,
and with bleached hair and new trainers she scuffed her shoes
kicking at the ground as though to find water.
On a Monday afternoon with the sun petering out
In the jaundice rain that could sink a dinghy
there were worse places to be and these three knew it –

an excursion to Avenham park with its lawns mowed so perfectly
And the little roof over their wet heads,
The sky the colour of the flesh of an apple.

The couple were dancing. Grotty, not unscathed. Black and blue,
three figures holding on like cannibals,
the sun receding.  No music, the company of new scars.

Shopping bags and bleached hair, singed eyelashes,
she scuffed her shoes having not worn heels for a decade,
and a can of coke was cheaper than water.

The sun petering out, in rain that
if you were dying, would be magnificent-
she rocked on her heels, looking out –

perfect lawns and shelter; wringing their hair dry –
they could make their own warmth if they danced,
This sky the colour of the bitten flesh of a ripe apple.

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