Swept snow in gutters and cold coming in fast,
Boxing Day clawing light back after
the solstice dip
into three-thirty twilight. A long haul until
full day both ends of sleep, but December
hugs me close
as a mother her newborn, slippery
with mucus, still blinking in the glare
of the world. Arrived on the cusp
of the year I fell into the arms of winter.
Ever since I have crept from the loud sun,
counted the minutes to darkness.
Murder on the No. 4 Bus
From my ringside seat over the rear-wheel
I look down on a chignon coiled at the nape
into decisive plaits. The woman folds her hands
over her bag. Her broad shoulders
achieve a monumental stillness.
A wasp is cannonading off her window
slipping each time it nearly finds the air.
She raises her hand. The wasp begins to circle.
She lowers her hand. The wasp subsides,
a throb against the glass. With slow method
she snaps a clasp, draws out a three-ply tissue,
folds it over the wasp. One calloused thumb
holds it in place. The other presses, presses,
a full five seconds. The small bulge underneath
isn’t a bulge now. She twists the tissue
into a shroud, which she consigns
to the empty coke tins, soiled Metros
littering the floor. A faint brown smear
the only evidence at the scene of the crime.
Her broad shoulders resume their statue pose.
Copyright © A C Clarke 2018
A C Clarke’s fifth collection A Troubling Woman http://www.overstepsbooks.com/cat/a-troubling-woman/ was published in 2017. Her pamphlet War Baby is now out from Cinnamon Press https://www.cinnamonpress.com/index.php/hikashop-menu-for-products-listing/poetry/product/313-war-baby-a-c-clarke