Though my mother was already two years dead Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas, put hot water bottles her side of the bed and still went to renew her transport pass.
You couldn't just drop in. You had to phone. He'd put you off an hour to give him time to clear away her things and look alone as though his still raw love were such a crime.
He couldn't risk my blight of disbelief though sure that very soon he'd hear her key scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief. He knew she'd just popped out to get the tea.
I believe life ends with death, and that is all. You haven't both gone shopping; just the same, in my new black leather phone book there's your name and the disconnected number I still call.
Submitted by Scott Dagostino
Marked with D.
- by Tony Harrison41
When the chilled dough of his flesh went in an oven not unlike those he fuelled all his life, I thought of his cataracts ablaze with Heaven and radiant with the sight of his dead wife, light streaming from his mouth to shape her name, 'not Florence and not Flo but always Florrie.' I thought how his cold tongue burst into flame but only literally, which makes me sorry, sorry for his sake there's no Heaven to reach. I get it all from Earth my daily bread but he hungered for release from mortal speech that kept him down, the tongue that weighed like lead. The baker's man that no one will see rise and England made to feel like some dull oaf is smoke, enough to sting one person's eyes and ash (not unlike flour) for one small loaf.
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