Angela Andrews

The Wedding Present

He watches us
unwrap the hours

spent in his shed,
seated on wheelchair vinyl,

by a lack of air.


The mornings began cold,
his fingers stiff
beyond the contraction
of age. He held
a fishtail chisel
in one hand, a mallet
in the other, his grasp
steadily loosened
by the rhythm
of metal and wood.

Oxygen streamed
through a clear tube
she uncoiled along carpet,
down steps, over grass,
into his vaselined nostrils.
She served him coffee
next to the turps, lunch
amongst shavings of wood.
They talked sometimes.
She took a photo
so we’d know.


There is a grey hush.
I can feel his grip,
the faltering burst of the tools.
And if I listen beyond the
tock, tock, tock
of an inching chisel,

I can hear the hum
of a box
extracting air.

Author’s Note


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