Jogging on the Wii-fit – by Louise Wilford

 

He’s there, old Bill, my father-in-law –
grey hair round a bald pate – sweating as he strives
to pass me – wearing shorts and a t-shirt, nothing
like he ever wore when he was still alive.

And there’s Asbo, my cat; grinning in a way
his face could never grin when blood
pumped round his frame; displaying stamina
he never had. As if some god

had re-cast them in pixels, Nintendo-ised
their forms to weave them still into my days.
Old emails, not deleted; texts kept; the Facebook
ghosts who linger, waiting to degrade.

As if a part of them still breathes.
They never change, imprisoning the past
in crayon colours, blanding out the flaws,
the errors, saving some of them from being lost.

There’s Anna, whom I haven’t seen in years –
She’s nicer here; her smile more sweet, more kind.
And there’s the man with whom my niece once lived
before she left him for his friend.

And Dave, my husband’s pal from Huddersfield;
my best mate’s kids are jogging through the farm,
and there’s the friend I haven’t spoken to in months;
and there’s my sister’s dog. All coming home.

These virtual friends, these avatars, these fakes –
who were inspired by flesh, but never swear
or cringe or weep or scream – still squeeze
a jolt from deep inside my gut as they appear.

 

 

 

Louise Wilford has been writing poetry and prose since childhood and has had poems published in a variety of literary magazines including Agenda, Acumen, South, OWP, The Stinging Fly and Pushing Out The Boat.  She has also won or been shortlisted for numerous competitions including the National Poetry Competition and the Templar Poetry Pamphlet Competition. She works as an English teacher and A Level examiner, and lives in Yorkshire.  She is currently writing a children’s fantasy novel.

Tarot Cards – by Louise Wilford

 

Facing her, he pressed the cards face down upon the bed. She stared
at their wheat-pale backs. You have to ask a question, he said, reading
the instructions on the box. Facing him, she realised she would never

ask. She would be answered, though, at last, with a closing door and
a glimpse from her bedroom window of his fingers on the steering wheel,
as he tried to believe it was over. The texture of the curtains twisting

in her hands, the smell of dust and perfume. That day would be the last
time they would meet. He’d drive into the fog, out of her way, then later
he’d be killed on the three peak run. It was the wrong time of the year

for Snowdon. She’d mourn him long before, ache from the moment
his tail lights blinked as he rounded the corner. Dream of his hands on
her hair. Remember the scar on his back from the time he slipped

on Ben Nevis. That’s how they’d know it was him, his face smashed
all to bits. She’d hear about it on the news. Man’s body found. Recall
the way he whispered cariad against her neck, into her ear, leaned

into her on castle ramparts, snuck his fingers through the buttons
on her blouse when no one looked. She’d recall that snag in his voice
long after the move to London, marriage, a career. Behind it all, she’d

know that bloom of pain as he pulled away and the fog took him home.
Cariad, whispered soft against her skin. And as she died – breast cancer,
forty-six – she’d remember that day, when she was twenty-three, facing

him across his brother’s bed in their house in Colwyn Bay, watching
him place the tarot cards his aunt had left behind, in a cross on the duvet,
him saying What do you want to know? You have to ask a question.

 

 

Louise Wilford has been writing poetry and prose since childhood and has had poems published in a variety of literary magazines including Agenda, Acumen, South, OWP, The Stinging Fly and Pushing Out The Boat.  She has also won or been shortlisted for numerous competitions including the National Poetry Competition and the Templar Poetry Pamphlet Competition. She works as an English teacher and A Level examiner, and lives in Yorkshire.  She is currently writing a children’s fantasy novel.