when you smell flowers you

check over your shoulder for a coffin and six

broad-shouldered bearers, stoic in the summer sunshine

when you see smoke you assume

some fire is about to wipe out an orphanage

until I show you the calendar and remind you

'it's guy fawkes day'

when you hold my hand, you mumble

about scabies – a grown-up form of cooties

you insist it is the next pandemic waiting to happen


i feel your fingers tighten a little (not uncomfortably)

and slowly and gradually, you move closer to me

so that when i look into your eyes

i see cynicism, futility, frustration

and a fleeting spark of brilliant hope,

fighting for dominance in your jaded heart

and slowly and gradually

it's winning.


i can tell.