For a while he’s gone back to his first wife,
who’s decided to keep him on a mantelpiece
with mouth-blown vases on either side.
It means she’s had to speak to his mistress.
They have more in common than she realised,
but wonders if her toenails are still painted red.
No one is quite sure where to scatter him,
not her, not their ne’er-do-well grown-up kids,
not even the lady with scarlet toenails.
His wife sits in a sea-fret of white mist,
sighing through her thick cigarette smoke,
she is so confused, she even asks me,
but I’m only a neighbour. For years I thought
he’d already died, the way she spoke of him.
Mrs. Hill takes another drag, decides to post
him back to his lady friend, confiding in me
even though he’s dead, he’s still a bastard.
(published in The North 48)
Maria Taylor is a poet and reviewer from Leicestershire. She is Greek Cypriot in origin and was raised in London before moving to the Midlands. She has had poetry published in a variety of magazines including The North, Staple, The Guardian and Iota. She has also reviewed for The TLS and Sphinx, amongst others. Her debut collection, Melanchrini, is available from Nine Arches Press.