Stalemate

Feathers for my boy

He’s just a little boy lost (like they all bloody are).
And what kind of a mother would I be to walk blithely on
with my shopping trolley as if I hadn’t seen?
There are vegetables to boil, T-bone steaks to be grilled,
but his eyes – his green eyes and their filmy coating of tears.
Brush my cowlick straight, they almost plead.

Other shoppers are starting to notice the standoff –
another moment and they’ll see right through my act.
Icarus’s mother, a bag full of feathers and wax.

There you are! she smiles with her whole mouth.
Come here right now! In the car park, bird shit taints
the Morris Minor’s bonnet – the boy is bustled
inside. Finally, the pretense can be dropped.
Why did you come here? she almost hisses, twisted
with eyebrows over sunglasses. He could hold her stare
forever; he doesn’t need to speak. She sighs:
Why do I have to take you through this again?
The wind has changed direction. Her key turns
in the ignition and the gear stick is smoothly throttled.

In the backseat, luxuriating in her perfume,
he slips into the perfect bliss of knowing
he’s on his way home. A mouth full of gum
with four teeth missing, whistling like a songbird.

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