An empty chocolate digestive packet
lies on the desk in a nest of crumbs.
Underneath, a GCSE timetable,
already half struck through in red.
Einaudi is doing his best
to keep things calm.
I hand her a cup of tea; she stretches
for it, knocking Dante to the floor.
It isn’t the smile I note, but those dark pools
of panic that no amount of kindness,
extra Italian lessons or trips to Venice
can dilute. How to remind her that we all have
different strengths? Through the window
there’s the first glimpse of cowslip,
a sky of cracked gold, her crazy spaniel, doing tricks.
She giggles. I hold out her guitar. She grabs it.
Nicky Phillips lives and writes in rural Hertfordshire, where she’s a member of Ware Poets. Her poems have appeared in Brittle Star, South Bank Poetry, and SOUTH; at Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Lake and Snakeskin; and in various anthologies. She delighted in being involved in Jo Bell’s ‘52’ Project.