A soon as I spot Dad outside my kitchen window I put the kettle on. He is holding his favourite pair of secateurs, their curved beak of black weighted, ready. It makes sense. Since he has been dead the thing he has missed most is the stubborn stem of a rose that needs cutting back. He has wanted to feel the firm grip of two pieces of metal, that clenched pressure on green bone. His hands are scratched with brutal verbs of thorn-tear, but he is almost through. He takes such pleasure in helping me, cutting down these beauties that want only to live. I will go out and help him, I think, pick up the sparrow lightness of tangled ends, pulled away from today and every other September. Before I can knock the window, he is gone. The overgrown briars sway in silent ululation against the steamed glass.
Bury her softly
The lady in the hospital bed opposite doesn’t have visitors. She is a bird caught in a cat’s mouth, her body a helpless offering, hair stranded damp against her skull. Her skin is the colour of milk, poured into a blue plastic jug. When she sleeps the inside of her mouth drops pink, a fledgling waiting for its next meal, whilst her bones dwindle beneath sheets. I find myself thinking it would be a kindness to wrap her gently in a hanky, carry her home in my pocket, bury her softly, so softly at the bottom of the garden, wet and expectant with spring.
Olga Dermott-Bond is originally from Northern Ireland. A former Warwick Poet Laureate, she has had poetry and flash fiction published in a range of magazines including Rattle Magazine, Magma, Strix, Cordite Review, Under the Radar, Ink Sweat and Tears, Paper Swans and Best Microfiction 2019. Two of her poems are included in the Smith/Doorstop’s latest anthology ‘The Result is What You See Today.’. She was the winner of the BBC Proms poetry competition in 2019 and is a commissioned artist for Coventry City of Culture 2021. You can listen to her poetry on the podcast Bedtime Stories for the End of the World, episode 2. Her first pamphlet ‘apple, fallen’ is due to be published in Spring 2020 by Against the Grain Press. She is a teacher and has two daughters.