Rhona McAdam
Page 3


Hard Cold Realty

The flat I didnít fall in love with

was the one I bought, the end of an eternal

quest for shelter. Down dark labyrinths,

in bad neighbourhoods, estate agents turned

locks so frail a curtain might be safer,

opening doors on rising damp, woodworm,

skewed foundations; where half-seen neighbours

you wouldnít want to meet on some dark stairs

lurked with intent behind walls like paper.

With my passion for doomed love affairs

I fell for the first libertine I found:

oozing character, a handymanís nightmare,

whose covings and wainscots had me spellbound.

This aging dandy, late Victorian,

was only half decrepit -- and half unsound.

My surveyor, authoritarian

patriarch to his bones, laid down the law,

spoke as my constant contrarian:

dismissed this gem, said itís not so much flawed

as falling down. He called it a hovel.

My heart was broken; my offer withdrawn.

Then, like a hero from a romance novel

came the good flat. Respectable: sound roof,

new kitchen. No need this time to grovel:

Contrary Man had his structural proof

and I my mortgage. Why then, as we closed,

should I mourn, as if for some lost truth?

We know we have to choose, and so I chose

the image of the rose, but not the rose.


Sara at Sixteen

You walked from my family past

into my present, bringing your mud,

your stink, your hair Ė my lord

your hair, fastened to the car seats,

pillowed in the vacuum,

autumnal clumps on every rug.

Now you are the star

of my home movie, my silent

back seat driver. No walk

but with you. No meal

but with you beneath the table,

your leftovers to consider,

doggie bags a literal

on every outing without you.

Now that I am yours,

you tell me you are old

and must leave me. You walk

suddenly this year with pain

and stiffness; gradually this year

fall behind me on the path.

You grow confused, and bark

randomly at night, forgetting why.

Yet you frisk like a puppy

with other dogs, though it costs you

later, that glee. And your joy

at an open door, the rattle

of keys, is undiminished

even now you must be lifted

to the back seat of my car.

Your gaze could cure

multitudes, the silk of your head

soothe any worry.

You teach me to taste

each morning as if itís our first.

And day after day you lie

near my feet, dreaming and fixed

on some distant thing that is, at last,

outrunning you.



© Copyright, 2015, Rhona McAdam.
All Rights Reserved.