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Carol Stewart

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Thursday Conversations and Time Spent with a Friend

Where the wind blew fury, birch and blade, we bench-sat
behind the fallen tree and the graves,
neither one of us knew the species, but the people, yes –
say it enough and it sounded voyeuristic,
scanties on the floor and Tom’s footprint after the drilling.
Fairground mud.

They call it the shows round here, and in June they would be coming
like those boys with their pistols
squirting in the Interchange, triggers aimed at the elderly, free
truant travel on the bus.
We’d seen the islands removed weeks before the Gala Day gathering
traffic on the thru-road dense as the local councillors were,

we’d crossed, and from an upstairs window you’d snapped
the burnt-out roof,
smartphone and binoculars. Fish-eye. Where was the sense
in this arson attack, or releasing
that goon from jail? We’d both been married twice, knew exactly
what men were –

women too, some like us, hair wild and heads together, watching clouds,
their racing shadows on the hill,
and we wished we could slow down time, return to laughing, fourteen again
when you ignored the headstones and climbed
the log pile, face framed in the deadwood gap, and your smile
like sunshine jubilee.

Carol Stewart (She/her) is a mother and grandmother living in the Scottish Borders. Her poems have been published in various print and online journals including That (Literary Review), Gravitas, Coffin Bell, Change Seven, Atlas and Alice, Wingless Dreamer and Scapegoat.

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