Kinairn Street - each stain in the granite,
each crack in the pavement, known and noted
brings warmth in the winter afternoon;
expectation builds with each recognition.
Two blocks, through the close, and up the stairs
love waits; a long anticipated welcome
hidden in a scold for not calling to be met.
An unknown entranceway cuts through the old paving stones
to a courtyard between new flats; sharp edged
and disconcerting in the haar rolling damp from the North Sea.
Quicker footsteps echo back from the walls. In a flurry of gull-scavenged litter
four figures emerge from the mist; three young women, midriffs bare,
and an old lady in an old lady's mac, talking.
Mother. She hasn't seen.
She hasn't seen. Pass by, smiling inside;
wait for the double-take, eyes lit.
Nothing. Turn and follow,
touch her sleeve; 'Hey!'
She turns, still talking. Talking;
'... shouldn't be out in this, dressed like that. What is it dear? Catch a chill...'
and turns to go, still talking.
Catch her sleeve. 'Hey?'
'...not right, out in this, dressed like that. Yes dear? I must go...'
Take her arm, make her stop.
She crumples. 'His face, it's awful.'
'What?' 'It's awful.'
'Why?' She won't look.
Hold her. Make her look.
'Why?' 'So white, so thin, he won't talk... shouldn't be out in this. Catch their death...'
Catch her eye,
she's not there.
Going, he's taking her too;
just leaving the wrapper.