Suicide with Dogs

by Pamela Newham

How quiet you must have been as you locked
the bedroom door behind you.
How happy they must have been when you
walked into the kitchen.
Thought it was time for a walk
as you dragged their tatty blanket
and laid it on the backseat,
put in place the flexible hose,
climbed in with them.
Closed the door.

Did you need their trusting eyes
to get you through it?
Or
Did you take them because you knew
he’d miss them more?

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Aftermath

                      by Pamela Newham

She sends a text:
An update.
My attacker has plea-bargained.
Eighteen years.
I am happy with that.

One after the other we reply:
Good news.
You must be relieved.
You have been so strong.
We are here.

And I think of all those others
who have never found their voices,
years upon years of unheard voices.

Fleeting

by Pamela Newham

Where are you?

Where are you tonight?
It’s that show-off moon,
too big, too bright
that brings back
sixties songs
and the smell of cigarettes
and jasmine
and empty glasses
on a wooden table
and chair legs
sinking into evening-damp grass.

 
Then I turn my back on that brazen moon
and, sane again, I do not care where you are.
Where you are tonight.

Back-street Shop

by Pamela Newham

Somewhere in the back streets
we come across a shop, dimly-lit.
We push the beaded curtain aside.

A small girl, pink sandals abandoned
on the floor, watches us warily
as we examine vintage teddy bears

and shelves with paper-thin cups
and hand-bells, tarnished by time.
Mother Mary, framed, gazes down at us.

But the girl in a white lace dress
does not smile. I point to a bear,
ask, “How much is this?”

She shakes her head, looks down
at her discarded sandals.
So we wait for a moment then leave.

What was it? What was it today
that made me think of that shop
its bears, its bells, its sad-eyed child?

Okavango

by Pamela Newham

Lilies like watery stars.
The silent glide of the makoro
down narrow canals
water-weed dank
past frogs,
the size of fingernails,
clinging to slim reeds.
Papyrus high on both sides.
The crack and crunch of hippos
on the river bank.
In a clearing a lion, so lazy,
he can barely lift his head.

Rage

by Pamela Newham

We have written a lot about road rage:
Passing on solid white lines
Zig-zagging across highways
Too slow in the fast lane
Jumping queues
Angry hooter blasts
The flash of the rigid middle digit
All leading to smashed windows, swearing and worse.

But we have not said enough about packaging rage.
Unbreakable items in layers of bubble wrap
Screeds of sticky tape
Staples stabbing flesh
Plastic ties refusing to let go
Child-friendly-adult-hating pill containers
All leading to ripped nails, swearing and worse.