Natalie Shaw – Hackney Lido with the Nuttalls

Hackney Lido with the Nuttalls

Serena says it’s like dying every time.
Jean-Philippe brought flippers for his hands.
We took the baby, she turned blue and cried.

Rare and precious, from another land,
my friends arrive. They swim at Hackney Lido.
In Sacré Cœur, we just fit on their floor

They make a camp for the bigger kids, we go
to the foot of their cathedral and play boules,
eat merguez in a cafe, drink red wine.

The water shines and pebbles on the tiles
I hold the baby, shiver on the side;
the Nuttalls neatly stipple through the light.

 

Natalie Shaw works hard for a living.Her poems appear in various print and online journals and anthologies, most recently Pod and Chronicles of Eve. https://natalieshawpoems.wordpress.com

Natalie Shaw – Diagnosis

Diagnosis

I explained about the dressing in the morning,
how I stood there saying, “Pants. Now trousers.
Put your top on next.” I had been hoping
things would change, but really it was worse;
not just the clothes, but how he got so angry,
still wet the bed, and often hit us, bit us,
pushed right up against my face to scream.
At most a little boy and he was lost,
scrambling under blankets of frustration –
his tungsten skin grown thick around each scar.
I once believed that I could reach and pull him
out and clear, but now I know the ask
can’t go that far. That soft and golden centre;
I’ve learnt this late, that I must hold it better.

 

 

Natalie Shaw lives and works in London, and her poems can be found in Fake Poems, Domestic Cherry, Antiphon 11 & 12, Butcher’s Dog, and Ink Sweat & Tears. She writes occasionally at www.natalieshawpoems.wordpress.com

Natalie Shaw – Amitriptyline / At Mortlake Crematorium

Amitriptyline/At Mortlake Crematorium

The last time I saw you. You were sitting
at my table and you said, “He’s less
aggressive every time I see him.” You’d written
so very kindly, with such carefulness,
you were a gentle man. You held my hand –
odd, in retrospect. You said one friend
would make a difference and it made me glad;
you could be right. You knew that was the end
but I did not. All the things about you –
your love of social housing, countertenors,
the pills you took for years, that huge
weight of sadness never lifting – they lost
their home and flutter here and there like ghosts,
an absence I can’t house; I look; it’s gone.
 

Natalie Shaw lives and works in London, and her poems can be found in Fake Poems, Domestic Cherry, Antiphon 11 & 12, Butcher’s Dog, and Ink Sweat & Tears. She writes occasionally at www.natalieshawpoems.wordpress.com