An old man waters the flower bed,
poppies’ bright heads nodding like his pupils
as limp flags dangle round the cenotaph.
The park is full of prams and print dresses,
of women in white linen trousers, and kids
in combat shorts with water pistols.
A couple stake their ground with a parasol,
picnic basket yawning in the sun.
A young girl buries her doll in the dirt
to the nicknames of boys playing games.
At the yell of
passes the ball – this vivacious boy
with shaven hair and laugh-crinkled eyes
standing in place of his country.
She clicks up stone steps
in black kitten heels, tongue
tutting the backs of incisors.
Hers is the top floor tenement,
detached, her decor minimalist.
Her tiles are black and white;
her painted nails tap
as she scratches her key in the lock.
Her skin tastes of lemon. At night
she opens the shutters and drinks gin.
Katie Hale was born in Cumbria, and is now studying for an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews. She has been published in magazines, including The Frogmore Papers, Velour and The Jam, and has won the Ver Poets Young Writers Prize, and the Anne Pierson Award. She was a Barbican Young Poet 2011-12, and currently runs poetry group [insert text here].