Two Poems

Poetry
Jenny Hockey


Photo Credit: GIS@Sam/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

Eltisley Avenue

Thursday 4th
and school kids thunder by
as winter daylight creeps about our purple room
in a ground floor apartment with an unwanted piano,
where I sit out my hours working green nylon yarn
into doll-size jackets and mitts, my swollen body
squeezed into a vinyl armchair.

All day and the midwife doesn’t show.

Monday 23rd
Two weeks past my date
they gather me into their arms—a stretcher’s too long
for our door, set aslant in the small shared hall.

Tuesday 24th
Wearing a dressing gown abandoned
by an old boyfriend, I step down out of the ambulance—
a baby asleep in my arms.

Two doors up the road, a neighbor wipes her eyes.

 

He was a Good Person

You knew that whatever you asked him for—
a tea bag, a hand with pushing your desk
nearer the window, the name of someone in Central Admin
who could organize a payment,
his face would brighten
at the chance to help,

a good person who’d ease back his chair
from his desk, ready for a chat
and even a cuppa shared—

after he’d walked down the corridor
—a word with a colleague along the way,
to fill his kettle in the kitchen,

a good person with a long institutional memory
and an amusing story or two to tell
about the woman in Central Admin
who never paid out on a Tuesday,
only on Fridays every other week,

a good person who, even before you asked for help,
would enquire about your husband
and whether his stress fracture had healed
and how your recent conference trip to Ukraine
had gone

and something would prompt him to tell you—
by the way, about the ducklings,
six or was it eight of them, newly hatched on the pond,
not the pond by the Vice Chancellor’s office,
the pond they recently dredged,
just behind Central Admin—

and what kind of tea bag exactly would you like?
PG Tips, decaf, ginger and lemon?
There might be a lapsang souchong somewhere,
if you could just give him a minute—

pencil

Jenny Hockey lives in Sheffield, UK. She belongs to Hexameter, The Poetry Room and Living Line—with poems in magazines such as The North, Magma, Toasted Cheese, The Frogmore Papers and Orbis. She retired from Sheffield University as Emeritus Professor of Sociology to write and read more poetry and in 2013 received a New Poets Award from New Writing North. Oversteps Books published her debut collection Going to Bed with the Moon in 2019. Twitter: @JHockey20 Email: j.hockey[at]sheffield.ac.uk

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