The Sheets

A poem by Cara L McKee

Published 20 March, 2017

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I went for Christmas, my first time away

and was the only woman (barely so).

I got the bed with sheets. I got to share.

The room was cold, the window bullet holed

through some stray misdemeanour of lost boys

who kept the house their mother had forsook

and kept it badly, and yet welcomed me.

 

And in the living room there was a fire

and I was new in love with my sweet man

whose parents dwelt in faith and charity

and wouldn’t let us sin beneath their roof

but fed us good things, made us cups of tea

and asked us every day to catch the bus.

We would behave whilst there, then drink our fill

of one another’s hearts, bodies and minds.

In that cold bedroom we bloodied the sheets

and washed them in cold wet that wouldn’t dry.

My truth was mine whatever others thought.

 

On Christmas morning, lost boys went away,

my lover gave a gift of pineapple

we shared it, juices dripping down our skin.

And then, without the buses, we set out

to walk the eight miles to the house of faith

to eat a rich terrine and watch TV.

 

My love was tired and cold and took a pill

to ward off pains that sought to find a place

and we walked to the cold house through the dark

full clouded night, through constant wind and rain

and he and I were soaked and shivering

but he was burning up and went to bed

where wind blew cold right through the bullet hole

and yet he sweated on the sheetless bed.

I saw him suffer triangles of pain.

 

The next day was my last. I took him home

and went myself, back to my well made bed

and that was not the end, though the end came.

That truth is ours, no matter that we part.

 

 

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