Broken Boy Soldier / Redrafted
Broken Boy Soldier
Your sister arrives home,
goes straight back out again,
leaving her phone and car keys.
The house smells of yesterday’s
takeaway chicken dinner.
You want a shroud, so you’ll
be kissing mushrooms
before the year is out.
You’re the colour of winter,
and trees fat with leaves stretch
their limbs, crack against the window.
The earth is impatient. It wants you back, now.
I want to leave with you, my broken
solider, in a sailing boat at midnight.
Maybe the moon will make you well,
leech the cancerous cells one by one.
The sun could drop out of the sky,
and I could light and warm the world
with my love for you.
You look out to the end of your life
on tiptoes, curious, trying to see
I don’t want to think of when
you become night, and we have
to engrave the bench in the place
where you played football
and ate packets of Jaffa Cakes.
The girls loved you.
When you went to Nandos
with a boy, it broke all of their hearts.
There will be no wedding cake,
or you calling me to ask if I can
call the council for a new wheelie bin.
Your tumour makes the decisions,
and the minutes ride us like waltzers.