Harold sits in his high-backed chair,
tips shells into his lap,
sprinkles the dayroom carpet with sand.
He lifts the tiger cowrie to his ear,
turns down his hearing aid to recall
the taptaptap of Dad’s pipe on the table,
Mom’s pastry-pin roll and thrap,
the budgie’s serenade to a swinging mirror.
He listens to the wentletrap,
makes out a Wurlitzer, the lift and fall
of Dora’s heels on sprung herringbone.
Smiles as she belts out Billie
over the thump of the twin tub,
the button tin rattle saving
his Sunday shirt from a ragbag fate.
Thumbing the ridges of an upturned oyster,
Harold tries to scoop out sounds
of hand-smoothed sheets,
the bedside monitor chirrup,
a last breeze of breath.
He scrapes the shells
back into their box,
clicks the catch
turns up his hearing aid.
Lets the tide rush in.
Sallyanne Rock is an emerging poet living in Worcestershire, UK. She has been published in various places online and in print, and can often be found tweeting @sallrockspoetry