An Angel In Your Sleep

After John Burnside

She went peacefully,
tucked inside her bedclothes,
the paramedic soothed,
hot water bottle at her feet.

I wasn’t sure about peaceful
when I saw you; ice-blue,
in the funeral parlour.
You looked surprised, indignant,

as though disturbed mid-dream 
by the bark of a fox
under your window      gash
of pale gold    
                  between drawn curtains
of white light
along the pink hem
of your pillow case

before you sat up,
looked around, brushed 
a glint of night frost
off the angel’s wing.

My Summer Holiday With Marilyn 

Colwyn Bay 1990 

I’m choosing seaside postcards 
and there she is, a revolving stand’s worth,
as though no holiday’s complete 
without Marilyn, mouth wide open, 
eyes half closed, body on the brink 
of earth-moving orgasms.                                                     

I leave the gift shop,
hurry to the beach with my family.
Marilyn melts like candy floss
until I remember high summer, 1962.
News on my parent’s wireless.
Marilyn. Overdose. Probable suicide.

We buy sticks of peppermint rock
and there she is again amongst photos
of the pier: Warhol’s colour portrait,
postcard size. Her mascara’s running,
moist lips puckering –a trick of light. 
The sun in my eyes.

Poolside parties. Secret assignations.
Nembutal, Chanel No.5, silk sheets,
and the coital sweat of John F. Kennedy.
I think of the dress she was sewn into,
its beaded marquisette trembling,
straining to cup her pendulous breasts.

I Took It

After Julia Webb

Love came on a plate 
and I couldn’t taste it;
devoured scrambled eggs, bacon, 
sausages, fried tomatoes
and wanted more.
I craved the touch of Mum’s hand
on my hair, my cheeks,
expected a fireside chat 
when Mum would enter my grief,
tell me she missed Dad as well
but we’d manage, just the two of us.                                                               

Weeks and months sped by.
Mum stewed garden windfalls,
floured her rolling pin,
baked golden apple tarts.
She stuffed my packed lunches
with wedges of spit-roast chicken –
kitchen left-overs from the staff canteen
at Lewis’s Department Store
She caught a bus there every day,
dopped off to sleep, most evenings,
after she’d washed our dishes.

I traipsed upstairs, began my homework,
tuned in to Radio Luxembourg
on my tinny transistor.

Meet the Poet!

Sheila Jacob was born and raised in Birmingham, and lives in Wrexham, N.E. Wales, with her husband. She has three children and five grandchildren. Her poems have been published in various U.K. magazines and webzines including, most recently, The High Window, Black Nore, Dream Catcher and Sarasvati. Her work is also included in Yaffle’s ‘Whirlagust 111’ anthology and the DragonYaffle Anthology, ‘Duff’. She is working on her first collection.


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