THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2006

  Charles Evans
REDEMPTION
 

That day I wrote an extra Christmas card for the window cleaner
Apologised to Jasper for dragging him past the lamp-post
Said Good Morning to mad Mrs Calthorpe instead of crossing the road
And put out three old shirts for the Oxfam bag
Then I took ten Panadol with a double gin and tonic
Brushed my teeth and turned in
Everything seemed in order as I closed my eyes
But I still woke up the next morning

The next day I kept below thirty as I drove through the town
Asked Henry if I could help fix his mower
Discussed the good news with two black callers selling Watchtower
And sent off fifty pounds to the Peruvian orphanage
Then I cut my left wrist with the big kitchen knife
Ran a hot bath and lay back
Things were fine for the first half-hour
I spent the rest of the evening in Casualty

In the morning I wrote to my old uncle in Australia
Talked with Albert for an hour on a prison visit
Gave my lecture on Civic Responsibility to the WEA
And saw the solicitor about a new Will
Then I rigged a makeshift noose from the loft trapdoor
Stood on a chair and stepped off
It held for a minute or two
Until I hit the floor with a nasty bump

On the fourth day I telephoned my ex-wife
And asked her to forgive me for the divorce
Wrote three letters to the children apologising for what had happened
And explained to Sheila that it was all over
Then I took down the old shotgun from on top of the cupboard
Slid in a shiny red cartridge
Pulled back the ancient rusting hammer
And finally had a good night’s sleep

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