George’s paper ends
somewhere before the sports section.
Instead he finds the kitchen table
still set for breakfast,
his wife’s hips wedged
between cooker and counter
as she swipes for the pepper
in a cupboard he looked in once
in search of a meter
when the gas man came calling
three years back.
Down the road the lad are out,
pushbikes and trousers in socks
with grease marks on calves,
as the milkman makes his rounds,
two streets shy of his bed
and the man he’s come home to
for the past twenty years,
no matter what their families said.
Behind the local is the lorry
loading empties from the night before,
when Josie and Keith picked a date
and each other,
and the pub turned to party
as the village poured out of their homes
to drink dry the bar
with the excuse of a reason to celebrate.
Edna will make comment
on the noise through her window
of metal kegs on cobbled lanes
to the man half her age
with his head still on her pillow
and his arm round her waist.
On the other side of town
his wife is starting breakfast
in the hopes his shift will end soon
and the manager will choose
to switch him to day work
so her bed won’t feel as empty
as it did last night
when she held his shirt to her face
and tried to remember
the last time he’d kissed her.
The sports section is by the toaster
next to yesterday’s post
and a card from George’s nephew
sending best wishes from New York.
In his hand is the pepper,
from the cupboard that does not hold the meter,
and on his lips are three words
he can’t quite decide how to say.
I’m tying two prompts together tonight with this poem. The NaPoWriMo prompt was to write a poem of simultaneity in which multiple things are happening at once and the dVerse Poets Pub was to write a poem about a town, city or village. I hope it’s okay with tonight’s host that I made up a town.