Thursday evening - Richard J Whiting

Submitted by R J Whiting on Tue, 28/03/2017 - 19:30

Thursday evening

at eight o’clock
she had, in his words,
the good grace to pass away.
By nine-twenty the doctor
had arrived along the flooded lane,
passed through electric gates,
delivered the certificate
and finished his tea.

In the next hour
he fetched a coffin,
one of two that lay in the barn
covered in cobwebs and blown leaves
and prepared his wife for rest
with the help of his daughter.
Then came the calls and texts,
a moment to mourn, and then, sleep.

On Friday he registered her death.
A farmer from the village
drove his earth-mover to the hill
above the house
and lifted the rich Suffolk loam
onto the hillside like a harvest.
Then family began to arrive,
bagging rooms, hugging, reminiscing.

By Saturday lunchtime
she was buried.
They looked down the valley
to the garden where kingfishers
were fired over the lawns
on great cords of blue,
to the river where otters
had returned to fish

and left the landscape alone
to hold her wake,
promising instead to return in May,
when the season
was in her favourite quarter,
when laughter and celebration
could drift like hawthorn blossom
to the hills.

Copyright © 2017 Richard J Whiting

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