Chin Up

The path walked
so that I could
induce cancer
was painted in
the dewy film
of morning.

disguised the
soon to be
muggy day.
Brisk-quick steps

filled the ticking
minutes until
I reached the
Death Row of
small businesses –
they run at perpetual loss.

Fully stocked shelves,
silent voices
offer a kind of
clarity for my
troubled mind.

I enter four digits,
unravel transparent
litter, pocket-gold foil,
light up, inhale advice,
exhale nerves, and
attempt to keep my chin up.

A poem by Tomas Bird


The Sanctuary
Tomas Bird

     The security light clicked on as I opened the door to reveal the cool summers night.  Bathed in a brilliant artificial glow, my mother's garden seemed absorbed with tranquillity.
     Sitting on the cold, stone step, I lit up a cigarette and exhaled a cloud of misty smoke.  As the veil of grey fog dispersed, I caught, out of the corner of my eye, a slight movement by the trellis fence.
     I took another draw and saw it again.  A dirty brown rock had hopped out from the gloom and was sitting contently in the middle of the path.  I stared intently at the slimy, breathing lump.
     'It's nice here, isn't it?' I called out.
     It sat still and stared at the pond.
     'This is a sanctuary', I said, 'for all creatures…even me.'
     Brightly coloured moths fluttered around the archway laced with zealous climbing roses that stood at the top of the path on which my newly made acquaintance quietly sat.
     'How long have you been here,' I asked, 'I've only just arrived?'
     I stood up and edged towards the apparition.  The soles of my bare feet scuffed faintly on the ash covered paving slabs.
     'It's taken me years to realise just what this place means to me…it's just a pity it took death to put it all into perspective.'
     It remained in the same spot, breathing at regular junctures, never once breaking its stare towards the pond.
     'I miss this place you know…I miss its everlasting peace that forgives all mistakes made in life.'
     My cigarette had long since burned out and I flicked the scorched filter over the fence into the adjacent lane.  A light breeze began to chill the night further as I retreated slowly back to the step – goose bumps pricked my arms and legs.
     'I'll leave you alone now, friend…thank you for listening.'
     I took one last look at the creature sitting so still and peaceful.  As I closed the back door, the light clicked off and returned the garden to the inky blackness of night.
     The kitchen window was slightly ajar and as I leaned across to pull it shut, I heard a faint plop from the direction of the pond.
     'If only we all could disappear so easily,' I said quietly to myself as I pulled the blind down.