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Four wine, two dog food.
She had a dog but apart from that lived entirely alone.
She stationed herself in the kitchen for most of the day,
working stolidly away at her quota of acid red,
bought from the corner shop on Pomphlett Road.
Late afternoon was set aside for snoring sleeps.
She told me she’d been married seven times,
but I wasn’t sure if she was spinning me a line on that one.
Episodes of trauma far too arduous to mention had
pretty much wrung her out to dry on misery’s washing line.
The dog was called Franklin: a pensive looking Staffie with a greying muzzle.
Sometimes I’d take him for a walk when I went to down to the shop, four wine, two dog food.
What family she had seemed far from bad.
The sister was the nicest woman I’ve ever met, the brother a merchant banker.
But you can’t choose your family, can you? That’s what my mother always said,
and I’ve found no reason yet to disagree.
Her children were in their thirties, both with husbands,
but in the throes of separation talks [the pair of them married far too young, apparently].
That was pretty much the family unit,
both daughters not producing children due to complications various.
A nephew dropped by once when I was visiting.
He owed her money.
She liked to argue.
Not to disagree or agree to differ,
but to foist her opinion on you until you adopted it.
I think it fair to assume
that if you said the earth was round, she’d say it damn well wasn’t.
She savaged me on many occasions, when I dared to challenge
The Daily Mail or Jeremy Kyle.
But despite all her aggression I kept on coming,
and some might say like a fly to a spider’s web.
I’m not among them.
Tell me, can beauty exist without opposition?
No cracking on the fingers of the Lord, no snake to strike the dove.
And if beauty is taken out of context, is it not then something else?
Some sort of hunting trophy nailed to the wall.
Not that I have the answer, but I do know this.
One flash of lucid humour from her,
one glimpse of something vital through that darkening veil of booze
was worth a thousand Sistine Chapels, a dozen Grecian Urns.
And that's the top and bottom of it,
as far as I'm concerned.
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