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

what’s beyond.


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.