Milka followed Baruch
along the road
to his parent's house
and up the stairs


to his bedroom
she looking about her
as she climbed
won't your parent’s


be home?
she asked
no they're at work
he said


my mother until
half two
Milka nodded
and thought


of the bewilderment
if they came home
too soon
and what if they did?


they came to the landing
and he showed her
the single bed
by the wall


next to another
by the window
whose bed is that?
she asked


my brother's
Baruch said
he's away


she said looking
at the single bed
by the wall
with the blue bed cover


he said
what do you think?
she looked at the bed


and then at Baruch
it's a bit narrow
she said
it'll be ok


he said
unless you don't want to
he said
she bit her lip


are you sure
no one
will be back early?
sure as sure


he said
he took in
her bright eyes
the hair


shoulder length
and well groomed
the yellow
tight fitting top


and blue jeans
she looked by him
at the window
can anyone see us?


he looked out
the window
I’ll close the curtains
he said


she looked at him there
eyes wide open
and alert
his black jeans


and white shirt
you don't have to
he said
just thought


that after last time
in the barn
it would be better here
she nodded


that was a bit
she said smiling
hay and straw


in my panties
when I got home
he smiled
yes and that mouse


that ran over
my backside
she laughed
and relaxed


and I screamed
she said
he nodded
and looked at her


standing there
by the bed
we don't have to
if you'd rather not


he said
she looked at him
and said
I want to


it's just the anxiety
that your parents
will come home
and catch us


he stroked her hair
they won't
he said
I'd not risk it


if I thought
they'd be home early
she sat on the bed
and he sat next to her


she kicked off her shoes
and he did so too
she looked at him again
then  stood up


and unzipped her jeans
and took them off
and laid them
on the other bed


he did like wise
she took off the top
over her head
and placed it on top


of her jeans
he took off his shirt
and put it on top
of his jeans


then she unclipped
her bra
and threw it
to the other bed


he stood there
gazing at her
small mounds
the brownish dugs


she removed
her pink panties
and flicked them
to the bed


by the window
where they rested
by the windowsill
he took off his briefs


and threw them over
by his jeans
she breathed out
deeply and slowly


he put a hand
on right breast
felt the softness
ran his fingers


over the dug
she smiled
and touched his pecker
then she lay down


on the bed
and he lay beside her
his hand touching
her thigh


and she saw
the sunlight
the uncurtained window


in the bright
midday sky.

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Judy lies
on the double bed
having made love
for the second time round


that early afternoon
Benedict lies beside her
gazing out the window
at the afternoon sky


she talking about
the grocery store
and the customers
and the bottom pinching


the creepy fart
she says
Benedict turns his gaze


to the profile
of her breast
knowing he shouldn't
but likes


her left one best
following the contour
of her ribs
and the pelvic sweep


the brown pubic patch
with semen leak
she eyeing


his hazel eyes
the quiff of hair
him laying there
his sleeping pecker


resting on the leg
he eyeing her thigh
the dark bite of love
the pantyline


still there
she saying
she'll have to go
her mother will wonder


why she wasn't home
on her half day off
from work
he saying yes


his mother'd be home
from work
on the next bus
from town


they share
a deep frown
no more love making
least not that day


she laying back
her skirt hitched up
around her waist
her blouse open


all the way down
her panties on the floor
by the bedroom door
one more kiss


before we go
she says
lips soft waiting
and meeting touch


she wanting to
but time running out
he wishing time
would stand still


to allow one more go
she noticing
the sleeping pecker
beginning to stir


their lips press
and tongues touch
soon to be going time
to stay too short


the afternoon sky
a cloudy grey
he kissing her
once more


wishing she could stay
not now
she says
another time and day


and so they rise
and dress
and she takes her leave
walking out


the back gate
and home
and he waving
her goodbye


goes back in
to make up
the double bed
carrying her image


and their love
in his afternoon head.

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Alice walks with
the thin maid
to the stables, holding
the thin hand with


red knuckles, the
mild limp crossing
the narrow path like
a wounded ship. Do


you like the horses,
then? the maid asks,
bringing the eyes
upon the child,


holding tight the
pale pink hand.
Alice nods, yes,
I like the black one,


like its dark eyes
and coat. The maid
eyes the pinafore,
the hair tidy and neat,


the shiny shoes, the
tiny hand in hers.
Have you ridden
any yet? the maid


asks. No, not allowed
as yet, Alice says,
feeling the red thumb
rub the back of her


hand. Shame, the maid
says, perhaps soon.
Alice doesn't think so,
neither her father nor


the new nanny will
permit that; her mother
says she may, but that
amounts to little, in


the motions of things.
She can smell the
horses, hay and dung.
The red hand lets her


loose. The stable master
stares at her, his thick
brows bordering his
dark brown eyes,


conker like in their
hardness and colour.
Have you come to
look at the horses?


he says, holding a
horse near to her.
She nods, stares
at the horse, brown,


tall, sweating,
loudly snorting.
The maid stares
at the horse, stands


next to the child,
hand on the arm.
You're not to ride
them yet, he says,


but you can view,
I'm told. Alice runs
her small palm down
the horse's leg and


belly, warm, smooth,
the horse indifferent,
snorting, moving the
groom master aside.


The maid holds the
child close to her.
Be all right, he won't

harm, he says, smiling.


He leads the horse away,
the horse swaying to
a secret music, clip-
clop-clip-clop. Alice


watches the departing
horse. Come on, the
maid says, let's see
the others and lifts


the child up to view
the other horse in the
stable over the half
open door, then along


to see others in other
half doors. Alice smiles
at the sight and smells
and sounds. She senses


the red hands holding
her up, strong yet thin,
the fingers around her
waist. Having seen them


all, the maid puts her
down gently. Ain't that
good? the maid says.
Alice smiles, yes, love


them, she  says. She
feels the thin hand, hold
her pale pink one again,
as they make their way


back to the house, the
slow trot of the limping
gait, the maid's thumb
rubbing her hand, smiling


through eyes and lips,
the morning sun blessing
their heads through the
trees and branches above.


if only, Alice thinks, looking
sidelong on at the thin
maid's smile, her father
did this, and showed such love.

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Elaine feels

as if she's the center

of the world,

as if


she was

standing there

in all her frumpish nudity

for all the world to see.


She stands

against the fence

in the girls' playground

as the boys stream by


to theirs.

She knows John

was on the school bus;

he was across the aisle,


but she hadn't looked,

she gazed out the window

the whole way.

She had stood


by the the steps

of the bus

after she'd got off

hoping he would


speak to her

or touch her arm

or ...or what?

her inner voice asks


kiss you again?

his lips on yours

in view of all?

Silly fool.


She stands there,

hands in the pockets

of her dark green coat,

eyes lowered,



a boiled sweet.

Morning Frumpy,

two passing girls say,


have sex last night?

They walk on


What is sex?


she'd asked

her mother

some months back

dirty things,


don’t' indulge

or talk about it

came the reply.

She stuffed


the words in a box

in her head

marked: dirty,

do not open.


Have sex? she muses,

was it a kind of gift

given wrapped?

She looks at the two girls


walking away,

arms linked,

giggling together,

dark green coats,


white socks,

blacks shoes,

shoulder to shoulder.

John had kissed her


the day before.

What was it for?

For real? A joke?

The impression


of his lips

presses still

on her lip’s skin.

She licks to see


if he's still there,


in some spittle



She can't get him

or his kiss

from her mind,

he resides there


like a secret tenant,


moving about,

not heeding her,


not paying rent.

She feels the ends

of her black shoes

pressing on the tips


of her toes,

too tight, not right.

He presses against

the tips


of her soul

and heart,

slowly ripping

each apart.

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Alice chalks

secretly, in

red and white,

a caricature


of the new

nanny her

father has hired.

The stick like


figure is spread

eagled across

the side wall

of the house,


red hair, eyes

and mouth,

white long



teeth and

four fingers

on each hand.

She has heard


her parents row;

the new nanny

took her by

her small hand


to the nursery

and sat her in

a chair; stay

there, she said.


She draws a

thin white line

of chalk through

the nanny's heart.


She stares, smiles,

and wipes her

hands on her

pinafore and


put her hands

behind her back.

Her father had

punished; her


mother had

cried and rowed

and now Alice

waits outside,


by the wall,

staring at the

caricature, the

stick nanny


with an arrow

through her heart.

The sun is dull;

rain threatens;


birds sing; the

thin maid walks

with a mild limp.

Alice waits for


rain; her hands

sense the area

of punishment

pain. Mother


loves and hugs

and kisses. Her

Father glares

and shouts


and smacks

and never misses.

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And Christina
hadn't seen Benedict
on the sports field
the day before


and school without
seeing him
was a long haul
of boredom


and frustration
and even
to go down
school passageways


between lessons
and not get
a peek of him
was stomach churning


with other girls
on about this
and that
and she only


wanting a peek
of him
to carry home with her
to hug and hold


in her bedroom
but today
in lunch recess


he was there
on the sports field
with that fiend of his
and she thought


he hadn't seen her
and he was wandering
the field with his friend
and they were laughing


and she so wanted
for him to turn
and see her
sitting there


on the grass
with a bunch of girls
and them laughing
and giggling


about matters
when he turned
and saw her
and she felt


her whole being
explode inside
and a rush
of feelings


flooded her
so that she was sure
she'd peed herself
with it all


and he came over
and said
didn't see you there
come let's go


for a walk and
so she got up
unsure if her legs
would hold her


what with the body
having exploded
like it had
and she went with him


and he lingered
near her
and their hands
were near


and she didn't want
to seem forward
and hold his hand
but deep inside


she wanted
to hold his hand
and kiss it
and squeeze it


and take it home
with her
but she just
let it hang there


near his
and he spoke
of being off
the day before


through illness
and that
he was ok today
and he laughed


and said
did you miss me?
and she said no
and laughed too


but god the words
clung to the roof
of her mouth
and she had to


push them out
and he said
he thought of her
laying there


unwell in his bed
and she thought
how she'd have
hugged him


had she been there
how she would have
sweated the illness
out of him


but she didn't say it
but smiled
and felt her insides
turning and turning


and he said
he dreamed of her
and she said
what did we do?


and he said
sure I cant' say
and blushed
and she touched


his hand as they
came to the fence
around the field
and it was electrifying


and her heart
seemed to thump itself
against her tit
and O how hot


it felt being there
she feeling all
so in love
and a slight wind


moved his quiff
of brown hair.

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And choir practice is over
and you and the others
leave by the vestry door
and look at the night sky


few stars
bright moon
and she says
wait a while


and so you wait
while the others
move off
towards the cars


or for the long walk
down the drive
from the church
and you see her there


in the moonlight
and she is standing
by one of the graves
and you go to her


and she draws you
to her and you kiss
and the warm lips
are on yours


and she has
her arms around you
and you smell
her scent


and feel her there
her body close
to yours
her hands touching


and her lips
and you touch her
and sense her
and it's as if


time has stopped
and nothing else
is in the world
except you and she


and the moonlight
and stars
and that slight wind
you sense


and her fingers
through your hair
and your hand
feeling along


her butt
and warmth
and no thoughts
no philosophy


no music
none of that stuff
just you and she there
and the kissing


and touching
and time moving
but you both unaware
that some other guy


would have her
and marry her
and that cancer
would take her off


into its deadly grasp
and there was moonlight
and stars
and lips


and kissing
and she saying
she loved you
and you saying words


that floated there
bird-like flapping
and her lips
soft as cotton


and her tongue
touching yours
and sensing


and O boy
that was hot
and love
and only


in the dark hours
when her shadow
lingers nearby
do you see


that time
and feel
the need
to cry.

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She climbs the narrow

staircase of the tower

which is circular, now

and then a door leads


off to a room, but the

doors are closed, and

only her shoes echo on

the stairs. Her father


has forbidden her to

climb the stairs, too

dangerous, Alice, he's

said, but she climbs


them in-spite, her sense

of adventure overriding

her anxiety of possible

punishment. She stops


half way. Breathes deep.

Her cheeks flush red,

her eyes bright blue or

green, depending on


the light, her mother

says, on kissing her

goodnight. She walks

up further, putting a


small hands on her knees

to press her on. Nearly

at the top, passing

another door, pressing


her knees, onward trot.

She stands on the top

step and opens a small

door that leads to the roof.


Fresh air meets her,

warmth of sun. She

walks carefully along

the narrow ridge, peers


out over the grounds below.

The gardener is busy

in the rose beds, back

arched, hoe in hands.


Her father stands nearby

pointing a finger, words

inaudible to her, linger.

She ducks in case he


looks up. She walks,

bending low, along

the narrow ridge to

the other side. There


she peers at the back

garden and looking

down sees the thin

maid carrying a bucket


along the path. Thin

arms and hands barely

managing to haul along.

A dog barks. Someone


laughs. She ducks, and

walks the narrow ridge,

and into the door, onto

the winding stairs. She


waits. Listens. She tiptoes

down one step at a time,

ears cocked, mouth dry.

She pauses outside a


door half way down.

She turns the handle

and looks in. The room

is empty. She enters


and closes the door behind.

A bedroom. Small bed,

washstand, cupboard,

chair. She walks on by.


She opens the outer door

and peers along a corridor.

No one in sight. She goes

out and shuts the door


behind. The smell of polish

and flowers. Shining

floors, carpet well brushed

and clean. She walks


slowly along the corridor,

dark shadows in corner

and doorways, lights off,

sunlight barely touching.


Her father is at the other

end talking to Fedge.

Baritone to baritone.

She ducks in a doorway,


bites a lip, fiddles fingers.

Had he seen her? The voices

carry along the corridor,

rising and lowering like


heavy waves. She peeps

out of her hideaway, eyes

bright against dark shadows.

Her father stands there


towering high. She smiles,

moves out, folds her hands

in her pinafore pockets.

Where have you been?


he asks, his voice baritone

deep and vibrating doors.

Walking, she says, looking

for Dolly. He sternly stares,


dark eyes burning. Not

been on the tower roof,

I hope? She looks at the

shiny buttons on his coat,


sometimes she can see her

face in them smiling back.

Oh, no, she lies, wouldn't

dare, too dangerous, to


go there. He looks her

in the eyes, and knows

she lies, a double wrong

to be corrected, his mind


suggests, but isn't sure,

if it was she, he saw.

Could have been another,

he'll ask her mother,


to keep an eye and watch,

not to be too content; or

her naughty daughter will

receive her punishment.

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There was fresh flowers
on the grave
that Jane showed you
outside the small church  


the sun was warm
and cows
were just over
the hedge surrounding


you could hear them
munching the grass
and trotting by
unconcerned by death


or the symbols
of death
and Jane said
the tractor fell


on top of him
the other month
you stared
at the flowers laid there


bright in the sunlight
a small glass vase
holding a smaller bunch


child picked maybe
they'll have to
move out now
that he's dead


it being
a tied cottage
she said
and you could see


the sadness
in her features
the tearful eyes
mouth slightly open


words like
broken china pieces
where will they go
the mother and children?


you asked
the local council
will house them
I expect


she said
she gazed at the grave
and bent
and picked up


a small flower
from the nearby grass
and laid it
by the other flowers


God bless him
in His peace
she said softly
the cows


stilled munch
over the hedge
a bird called
from the hedgerow


you looked at her
standing there
a blue ribbon
in her dark hair


her green top
and black skirt
knee length
sad end


you said
one of the dangers
of farming


she said quietly
she moved away
and you followed
and she held out a hand


and you took it
and went
into the small church
and sat


in one of the pews
inside and stared
at the stained glass windows
sunlight pouring in


like liquid gold
the flagstone floor
and pew end


at the front
and her hand
still held yours


blood pumping
along arteries
life and living


and she and you
and outside
he sleeping
in his God's peace


and the cows
munching the grass
and birds calling
from hedgerows


and sky
and always
with you
the eternal why.

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