Squidgy Rubber Toys

We used to get squidgy rubber toys
figures with stiff wire in the arms and legs
so you could bend them into a shape
and instant coffee would come in a tin

You could cram your rubber figure toy
into the tin, and then thump the lid on,
and, seriously, you would expect him
to remain silent, not a peep

(when he was out, fit and decent,
you could talk about the weatherand the garden)

but if you put your ear to the tin
you'd hear muffled mutterings
He was uncomfortable / squashed
incoherent, breathless

Sometimes, in the bath, he'd smile and sing
His favourites were old shanties
from the days when Britain was a seafaring nation

~ ~ ~

Pulls her hood up, warm and private
curls a hand around her head
tips forward, to write
a life, a story, scenes from a drama of perfect being
Green Tara in Woolworths
/ in library. Now outside
sandwich, standing, oblique
walls, damp, powdery

I'm in her eyes, looking

God, I can hardly see this city dust
these tears [these tiers, these tares]
between acts, mid role change
a moment to decide which voice to listen to

~ ~ ~