All autumn she squirreled away necessities
 and hoarded them in the loft.
 Whenever he left the house, she opened the hatch
 and scampered up the ladder carrying supplies
 nervously storing them in her dusted den;
 stacking tea and tins and dried milk
 in corners cast in shadow
 by the Anglepoise lamp.

 If the floor hadn’t been boarded
 goodness knows where she’d have gone;
 but now amongst forsaken fragments of family life
 she’d made a nest of cushions and curtains
 and slept snuggled in her daughter’s duvet.
 Being frugal with the house-keeping money
 she’d purchased items he’d have missed:
 a nutcracker, a tin opener, a kettle, a microwave…

 And there she sheltered, insulated in her isolation
 amid the lagging and the gurgling water tank
 with a pile of magazines
 and her radio cassette machine.
 When her husband was asleep or in the garden
 she scurried down to use the bathroom.
 She told herself she would hole up for the winter
 and wait to see what spring brings.

   © Clive PiG 03/04/10

The Wrong Children

 She’d done her best
 but somehow they’d slipped through her fingers.

 She searched in the park
 and scoured supermarkets.

 Occasionally she heard them on the radio
 or met them in books.

 She’d see them in movies
 but never in the flesh.

 On the bedroom wall she’d pinned a newspaper photo
 of the two boys spotted in a Moroccan souk.

 Even when she was carrying them
 she’d had misgivings.

 The mid-wife said they were perfectly normal
 - what did she expect?

 When the boys burst home
 from school they snarled,

 “ We hate you.
   You’re not our real mum.
   We’re calling the police.
   Where did you put the body?”

   © Clive PiG 12/03/2010 - 06/06/2011

'Ship in the Bottle' by Oliver Piggott

Ship in the Bottle

 When Grandad died
 he was toasting bread on the electric fire
 and when his heart stopped
 the cork popped out of the bottle on the mantelpiece 
 and sea spurted into the living room.

 The ship's horn boomed
 and a toby jug toppled from the shelf
 and sank bubbling to the carpet.

 Grandad was bobbing up and down
 drifting towards the window
 but a seagull's cry
 woke the tattooed mermaid on his chest.

 She slipped from his skin
 and swam with him into the bottle
 and laid him gently on the bridge.

 And when she kissed him
 his eyes opened
 and he stood and took the helm.

 A whistle blew, the engine started.
 He raised the inky anchor
 on his forearm,
 waved farewell
 and sailed across the seven seas.

 And when I take the cork out of the bottle
 I smell the steamer's smoke,
 I taste the tang of sea,
 I hear the seagull's cries
 and know the ship
 that Grandad made
 will one day come for me.

   © Clive PiG 25/05/2010