Jim

by Jessica Kelham-Hohler

The wheels got caught on the broken slabs of the drive, as they always did.
And the shed we told you to pull down still remained, broken and proud.
A dark place of mystery where, as toddlers, we often hid.
And you, with stamping feet and a gentle chuckle, would call for us aloud.

That green chair, torn and frayed, which belonged in the tip,
But which you insisted was the perfect one for your lazy days,
Never did leave that spot, next to the brandy for the occasional sip
And the chess board for our monthly plays.

The crossword lay unfinished with no answer for five down,
And you, frustrated at those ignorant writers, would stand,
Gazing at your garden over the sink, as you watched the man drown
Your favourite petunias, head in hand.

We found a plastic bag filled with pictures, curled and jaggedly cut,
Tossed by the rubbish, and when Mum protested you said,
‘No use for them now,’ as if the need equalled the desire, but
They were saved, and though you claimed to know them in your head

You looked at them often, and smiled at the times when
There were fields and sheep behind the house, and folk
Would gossip over fences, and like a ‘clucking hen’
Mrs Herbert would tell you of her new plumbing bloke.

And when the sun hit that point where you could rest
On the greying plastic seat and think on those times
When you were marching through Burma, at your best,
You were content. Pleased to be out of the mines

And outside, with family. With time to spare,
With the odd pint, with the sense that times were good,
And that there remained that old, green, fading chair
To keep you happy, as it should.