We went there to escape the rain in northern summers,
took a torch. Took a tartan tin of broken biscuits,
the kind bought by the pound in paper bags.
We even took our macs – the planks were slimy
on their milk crates and behind our backs
green water wept on Accrington brick.
Even the Catholics cheated at cards
and there were slugs.
In the right week, we took woody pears off the tree
which loomed over the shelter and must
have known the world before the wars.
We ate its fruits and pieced together sex
from Woman’s Own. We argued
about the afterlife, its steps from Purgatory
to God, and whether, unbaptised,
my brother and I
might merit Limbo.
Jean Atkin’s collection ‘Not Lost Since Last Time’ is published by Oversteps Books and she has also published five poetry pamphlets and a children’s novel. Her poems have won various prizes and recent work appears in Magma, Envoi, The North, Earthlines and The Moth. She has held many residencies in both England and Scotland, and works in education and community projects. www.jeanatkin.com and Twitter @wordsparks