Chattels

The door is locked and the key turns like a knife in the door,

Unread letters and junk mail litter the hall as I enter.

In the living room, my picture hangs proudly above the grate,

A tea-stained mug sits on the sideboard next to your pen.

Your reading glasses sit snug in the cubby hole of the cabinet,

What were once your eyes, now reduced to glassy pearls.

Even with your blood-rushed head you left the important papers

On the marbled coffee table we bought you one birthday.

Beside them are handwritten envelopes addressed to the grandchildren,

No doubt a parting gift of a tenner or two, like the money

You used to give me to buy ice-cream from the singing van,

“One screwball please, and a ninety-nine for my Father.”

Somehow you are still here, a presence in the house,

Transformed into a smoky scent, heavy on your armchair.

Sheet music sits at the piano in the corner like you once did,

A faint tune chimes from the dusty coral keys.

Ingrained into the walls, the foundations of a well-lived life

Scattered amongst loved, yet unwanted gifts from us all.

Ascending the stairs is strange without your calling after me,

“Check for damp in my bedroom” – you thought I was an expert.

Spilled onto the bed are the peculiar contents of your bedside drawer,

Old watches, fancy lighters, a half-started diary, nail clippers.

Oak tallboys burst with your old shirts and ties and leather shoes,

Donate them to a charity shop, they’re of no use to me.

I smile as I find a photo album, pictures from my childhood.

The album with a dustsheet of dust, occupied with changed moments,

Now more important, which have plucked small treasures of our time together

And a backhand that all the time we had is all we’ll ever have.

I take what I want from your bookshelves and your cupboards,

Mostly to remember you by, a reminder in the strangest things.

The house becomes a raided clam as I load the last of your belongings into the car,

One last look and I twist the key in the door and lose you to your sleep.

 

– Daniel Williams

Catch

Comfortably dilated by the lights my spying eyes follow the beams through the dark, spinning their vision webs of jet trails cutting across the room. My mouth grows numb. Squinting, my marbled beads invite the buzzers into my white par-lured web. Salty tear-drops land on the stretched sea-silk girders, preying for me to spare them the demure tools of catching a catch and of flying a find and of wrapping a chord of woven silver around their clovered pretty plum enticed onto my sweetened shelf. I sit, perched on the dainty balcony, and orchestrate a falsified dance of stone-white embraces, a waltz of loveless sparring between ourselves in rivers of lustful reddened brown, as fighters do. Wincing at the climatic demise of what we have shared, but still, devouring continues. In a diamond haze, we sink together in my delightful den, tonight we dined together, a party of two. Digested, we become one.

 

– Daniel Williams

Winter’s Beach

Rolling furiously at the sand,

The sea moves through the thick fog,

A clump of seaweed somersaults,

Turning over in the murk.

 

Teeming rock pools attract birds,

Teasing them down from the jagged cliffs.

The tormenting waves smash like white horses

Down onto the black rocks,

Deafening the beach.

 

Three shadows dance along the sand,

The salted riptide echoes through their voices.

Soft, coral lips part and call out warmly

Against the chill.

 

Their movements sleek,

Choreographed by the wind,

Clapping, splashing, piercing,

The cold water burns

The feet of the innocent,

Making once peach skin,

As white as the waves.

The tall shadows become embers

And burn into the evening ice.

 

 – Daniel Williams