After Neighbours signature tune
Jacqueline plucked white hairs from her hair-brush,
shuffled out. Her husband was at the steering-wheel
of the car he guided through wash-and-buff
Tuesday and Saturday mornings.
“Newtownards?” he asked. Always, Newtownards.
After dark they pulled the curtains,
blanked out wandering stars,
until one night a storm breached their house,
slowly carried Jacqueline away
to a tang of disinfectant, to white bed-sheets.
From his wing-back chair uncle scowls
at a tank of O-mouthed guppies,
as his son collects his mother’s clothes,
relinquishes them to a charity shop.
Backwards, uncle climbs the stairs,
limps from one cold room to another.
Evenings he looks across to the void
in his wife’s chair… a draught
washes against the edges of the Telegraph
spread across her lap…
By the bedside he keeps the brush
with its captured loops of white hair.
The radio gravels.
He explores the deep-blue sheets -
unwashed in four weeks - reclaims trace scents.