Sentences To Survive In by Jane Burn

I smile
because I don’t know what else to do
but smile, …………………………………smile
because he told me I seemed as if I was the happiest
lass in the world, how coming here makes his day.
How my fella is a………………………..lucky man.
He smelled of the unkempt dust of loneliness – 
one pint of milk, one apple, one pear.
The lady with thin hair and Tree of Life necklace –
lost her husband.……………………….Cancer,
she mouths, lost her son three months later.
Killed himself……………………………because of grief.
Would have joined them save for the other children
who need her. Lady buying whisky and rolls
for her father’s wake.………………….I’m an only child.
She has to sort everything out – his house
is a mess of papers. Woman
in a blue blouse says her friend just passed.
……………………………………………………………..He phoned me on Monday,
……………………………………………………………..dead by Sunday – 
ended like Solomon Grundy. His death was a nursery rhyme.
I see this line of people waiting to share their sadness.
The one with long nails has a daughter that fell down the stairs –
the dad who had his hip replaced,     won’t use a stick.
Middle-aged shoppers with birdy parents – yelling
at them that it’s………………………..twentyfour seventytwo, mother!
 …………………………………………
Twenty. Four. Twenty. Four.
The one with black stubs for teeth that escapes from respite – 
hates this never going anywhere……on my own,
anymore. She has bought a cream cake, is getting
a taxi back………………………………..Bugger them.
Two slices of ham.

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