Jen Overett p.2

Jen Overett


The Dealer

One Night


I did not think it would be like this –
this quiet, textured slowing of your lives,
past meals, eggs, ham, "a nice bit of fish"
layered in the air,
noise turned up to a babble,
house locked up tight against a world of draughts.

To dwell on childhood's minor wounds
is frankly self-indulgence since I've known
you've always done your living best.
You are such gentle people now,
your love as fragile as the spiders webs you miss,
turning ever vaguer corners as your vision blurs.

There's nothing to forgive you for, I've found,
yet now we want to ask you of your life and times
you're least inclined to reply,
but always rise carefully from your chairs,
discuss who'll put the kettle on, "coffee or tea?",
the stunned oh's of your eyes relaxing into smiles.

Stay here, suspended for a while yet please,
grow sweeter by the year the way you do so well,
unpick those kindly hands from spectral friends
and gently pace your rooms, eyes twinkling still,
reminding one another of this and that,
following us all with your hearts.

Copyright © 2011 Jen Overett
The Dealer

The cup we watched him throw
(that he could not recall)
was the final straw,
the unlocking of our door to freer days.

For months before;
fear, a cold chill at my neck;
exhaustion at the anger,
its sound, smell and form,
at the teasing of the cat, of you;
but most of all the turns he took
to take it out on me, then you, then me,
while fighting for strength
from a sickening mind
to hammer flat his past integrity
down in the garden shed
where he stored, higher and higher,
boxes of beautiful things heʼd bought,
and sometimes stolen, from fairs.

When the door to freer days unlocked,
it was late afternoon,
shadows throwing long
pale coffins on the lawn.

By the time Iʼd packed our stuff
it was dark, and we slipped
from the house, your hand in mine,
(he was hammering
out the back at the time),
It was a start. Then we drove
to my sisterʼs (your favourite auntʼs)
past the grey salty sea,
where we stared long and hard
at the crisp, crashing waves
piled higher and higher,
like beautiful things
that could not be bought or stolen;
and none of this was fair.

Copyright © 2011 Jen Overett
The Dealer read by Jen Overett
One Night

A wisp of light drifts through
the gathering dark and we quietly
speak of rain, my father and I,
walking the muted corridors
to this hush of beds.
Here is my mother’s hand
to hold from under the sheet;
my father takes it,
mouthing inaudible love,
while family gathers
to whisper and wait
through a long night shift.

Then dawn arrives,
wrapping up hope
into a tangible gift. So we slip
from her stammer of sleep
for the drive back home.
There are cuts of red
in the sky from the rising sun
as the road unfolds
to a normal pace; clouds shift
above us, grey on grey, look down
on this small world of ours,
on how it can be, and how it is.

Copyright © 2012 Jen Overett
One Night read by Jen Overett

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