Eira Needham is a retired teacher from Birmingham UK. Her poetry has been published in print and online. Some of her recent publications are in Poetry Pacific, Nine Muses Poetry and Poppy Road Review. She has also been Featured Writer in WestWard Quarterly and came first in Inter Board Poetry Contest, August 2017.
The Braeburn Tree
Mother-like it stoops to watch Sheba’s endless
sleep, drapes its blush pashmina over her in spring.
Its trunk inclines across the slender path to bask in
solar warmth; branches grasp us as we grapple to pass.
After harvest, we shovel it out, abandon windfalls
to compost the ground, around the gaping cavity.
Repositioned by the wishing well, we pamper it, hope
sap will course through veins again and the chasm left
will not be needed very soon. In February’s gloom, we wait
for the man trapped in traffic, carrying a mercy-potion.
It takes seconds. Max is swallowed by the void as soil
shrouds him. We replant nearby bulbs, in memoriam.
I first saw Max in a dream-chase, the tabby scurrying
from Sheba’s shady grave. Now Max rests beside her.
Seedtime rays and drizzle foster apple blossoms to unfurl
today; narcissi gently waver where heads once bowed.
They met in dunes behind the bay;
seduced by warmth she cast away
her scant bikini top to bare
her virgin skin. Long fingers played
on tender breasts; as beach grass swayed
she bathed in his caress. She'll wear
a gown today when tests uncover
melanoma from her lover.
Impounded, Maggie waits.
Too old to race at five,
undeserving of her sentence.
The pack surrounds us,
nostrils vetting pheromones.
They separate her, contain
the rest behind a gate;
Deep chest and long-legged
elegance capable of high speed
in three strides,
large eyes outlined, kohl-like
she stands statuesque, as if
on a mural in Pharaoh’s temple
Tiny scars from food fights,
fleck her face,
tattoos hide inside ears.
Lying overlong on stone floors
has worn bald patches
on muscle-bound flanks.
Muzzled, the retired runner walks
close without tugging, then lingers
beside me while I stroke.
Glimpses of My Mother
By chance I catch a glimpse of her,
salt and pepper waves kissing
cyan ripples about her neck.
A thousand Lepidoptera tickle
anticipation, until she whirls
around revealing an unfamiliar smile.
As I exhale they burst out
of my ribcage in a rush, transporting
all desires to an obscure realm.
One gatekeeper flutters back
then settles on my lifeline.