Shell

by James Watson

He doesn’t dream; won’t stay up
past twelve.
               “Pass the salt”, he’ll tell his kids to say.
                Scold,
                perhaps scald, if they grab.
                                                             The kettle’s all too close.

At night he’ll sleep,
        His bed in a field, driven white with snow,
        Cold, printed, pocked,
                                                          With the crater of her.

A dim memory of loss,
Yet he’ll remember the gloss, the colour of her
                                                Lipstick,
                                                              smudged across his face,
                                                              that first date.

The slap, the punch, the blood of her nose
That last night, and the
          Squeal of brakes,
          The final flash,
          of hair, strawberry blonde, then away down the road.

But then there’s his license,
                 The bills, his job, that patch of growing
                                  Grey, the “music these days”.

He’s forgetting.

Cursed for life for “getting by”.