By Halves – by Helen Shay

 

I’d like, just for once,
to do things by halves.
The morning after,
quick peck goodbye.
A phone number
on the hand, washed
off in the rain.

A job not to die for.
A man not to live for.
No be all and end all.
Sleeping all night,
as he boards a plane.

Just for once
doing things by halves
and feeling whole.

 

 

 

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.

Letting Go – by Helen Shay

 

She doesn’t cling anymore.
That sweaty, grimy, too-
young-to-have-a-wrist fist,
that clenched its red need
staining into my arm,
has loosened.

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.