Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tea in Pontefract

by Ashley Fisher

We meet on a Pontefract street corner,
clothes damp from autumnal drizzle.
It takes me a moment to recognise you:

there is no red hair to escape from your beret,
your translucent face grips your skull like cellophane,
and your eyes seem somehow dimmer.

We greet with a hug, my middle-age flab
making me too conscious of the chemical warfare
being waged inside your frame.

You offer me a smile and licorice from
your pipe-cleaner hands: "It has been too long"
we both agree before heading to the

cafe and drink sweet tea below the pictures
of the factory your father once worked in.
Yes, my journey was pleasant.

you have three more weeks of therapy to go;
you are sure all will be well but do not like
the idea of a chemo perm. I think the beret

suits you but say nothing of it. In the silence
you toy with the loose redundant wedding ring
I never had the courage to offer.

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