Funeral by Helen Kay

Today there is not enough room –

No more oxygen-tank-Stonehenge
On her paisley Berber, just relatives
in not quite fitting shades of black.
A dying rat pulses on the lawn
outside, its limp tail, a cut noose.

Today is a helpless, staring day.
She rocks on the chair, moults tears,
fumbles to write her love on a flowercard.
A VAC therapy machine lurks in a bag.
its tube suckling her mummified leg.

Gwynn’s sheep choose to escape
just as the hearse snoops up the lane
In tight suits and slippy-soled shoes
we shout them back, half thinking
Tom’ll leap from his coffin to help.

each    little      bird    that    sings
    bellows a            mountainous director

we picture       empty budgie cages

          the vicar rustles up a life we half knew.

Scouse accents walk past a jigsaw of graves:
His name, Evans, will slot in here.

sandwiches are headstones on blue
willow plates in a lichened schoolroom

She can’t believe Tom is in that box.
The fluid snakes out of her leg.

It will take months for her flesh to mend.
There is never ever enough room.

Helen Kay
Helen Kay is sometimes known as the chicken poet because her debut pamphlet A Poultry Lover’s Guide To Poetry (Indigo Dreams, 2015). She has had poems published in magazines including IS&T, Rialto and Orbis. she was a runner up in the High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature in 2016 and was shortlisted for the 2017 Paper Swans pamphlet prize.

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