Memory Burning

The brother he liked Graceland,
Played it every day as I recall.
It never surprised me
That he’d taken so long to discover.
The memory forms a window,
That opens up into a courtyard.

Night falls and the lights are turned out.
Downstairs a kettle boils,
And she sits smoking at the table.
Her face is creased with the night.

Chip-board veneer.
Hound-dog collection.
A small christening spoon of tarnished silver.

Memory burning away in the cigarette light.
Small flecks of ash falling onto trouser legs
A forgotten conversation round the kitchen table.
Maybe I deliberately choose to forget.

Her head was tiny,
So small with fine wisps of hair.
Impossibly narrow shoulders
A small hipless body
With a smell so rare
It’s hard to forget.

I return to the courtyard,
Full of bikes and broken down contraptions.
A washing line and a savaged garden.
Dog excrement.
And the rotting stump of a tree.

On the step sits a man smoking.
The vapour rises to the heavens,
Trailing three stories high.
Touching god in the process.
Smoke is the theme of this place.
Smoke and the fact things are broken and never repaired,
Left out in the open and rained on.

On Saturdays they have a market,
Selling cauliflowers and CDs
The Graceland LP
And flamenco dresses fit for children.
In the courtyard I hear the sound of castanets clicking.

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