She doesn’t cling anymore.
That sweaty, grimy, too-
that clenched its red need
staining into my arm,
Instead, a cool-er hand touches
mine. Still dirt of play beneath
nails, but each painted different
colours by her, experimenting
with bottles and jars.
(My bottles and jars).
Soon that hand will let go.
She’ll have her own varnish
to silver each full-grown nail
with strokes, sluicing with sparkle.
Then she’ll fleck her fingers out to dry
– like a wave goodbye.
Leeds-born poet, Helen Shay, has work in publications/online, holds Creative Writing MA (Distinction) from Manchester Met University and teaches with York University’s CLL. She’s performed at several venues (including Glastonbury Poets’ Tent – still has mud stains!) and hosts Harrogate’s monthly Poems, Prose & Pints. More details on her website or on Facebook.