One o'clock, two...
the way your lips sent dandelion seeds to the winds
left me almost breathless with desire,
the way you blew bubbles
into your dandelion and burdock
and trailed your hand
through the hair-like algae on the canal.
My sister's clothes fit all too well,
those dresses cast off into the jumble bags
the kiss of silk and fur,
scented powder on my cheeks and eyelids.
My father never understood;
relegated Otherness to baser terms –
poof and queer and Mary-John;
the slur of separation relegated to roadside lavvies
and punishments meted out
by balaclava men with Backing Britain badges
who ambushed a Paki at the back of the garage
and bragged about it in the pub.
I took a few knocks, too,
“Been in the wars again?” the nurse would ask,
but which one? None
as deadly as the one inside my ginger pate
remembering the silks and furs
in my dead mother's wardrobe,
and the way you told the time.