THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2006

  Anne Stewart
AS WEll AS CAN BE EXPECTED
 

When all the days went numb and drowning was easy
the last of the money skipped away unseen.

After a week, the automatic pilot kicked in.
It woke you up a little. Borrowed, begged. Got you clean.

Then you began to remember friends, invitations;
hear the crunch of tyres when the grocer's van came.

In no time, you were making decisions again.
Cake or milk. Pretence of luxury or plain good sense then

down in one from the bottle, cold and delicious,
fingertips wet with the glass's freshness.

Soon, you were naming days. On one, you found a card
and feeling good in your least-old clothes, took to the road.

When the doctor prodded, the stomach shrank away.
He pushed again and it hid, complaining noisily.

He tutted and frowned, asked his questions,
scolded, 'You have to eat better than this. And'

he pointed, accusing your dusty shoes, 'that walk
is over an hour. Make sure you get the bus back.'

Well-intentioned, but a bit soft in the head.
Given the bus fare, there could have been bread.

 

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