Now then

Now then

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First stage winner of The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition.

Handy Stores

Push the door – tinkling bell –
and you’re in the puzzle
of its atmosphere: a mustiness
of pet-food, sawdust, straw and compost,
lifted by a reek of paraffin.

The woolly dog lifts its head
from the deal-board floor and barks.
The budgerigar cheeps and a sly man
slips into the shop, or his wife
blunders (startled armadillo!)

through the frosted door.
They linger
with a dusting of resentment.

In the jumble, turn the wobbly stand,
absorb the pictures: plump radishes,
hearty lettuces, clustered asters.
And nasturtiums – dark green leaves
accentuating blazing-orange flowers.

Packets of rattly seed. A few coins
and they’re yours – yours to grow
their rambling greenery, to snap and chew
their peppery leaves, relish colours,
touch the trophy of soft flowers.