Matthew Paul – “End of”

End of

Outside Morden Station,
I’m stopped dead
by my late father’s double
ordering an ‘OAP Cod ’n’ Chips Deal’
at the counter of Fish & Kebabs.
The bus shelter’s rammed
with pensioners,
all of whom give me the evils
when I contemplate squeezing in
from the pelting February rain;
so I stand beside an elderly woman
in a dodgy phone shop’s
fire-exit doorway. She’s off
to St Raphael’s Hospice, North Cheam,
to visit her husband,
who’s ninety-four;
no, ninety-eight. He spent last week
in a nursing home as respite
—for her more than him—
but ended up with rampant
pneumonia and bruising down one leg,
which no-one could explain.
I witter on about
my father’s end of life. Our bus rounds
the corner. She tunes me out.

Matthew Paul’s collection, The Evening Entertainment, was published by Eyewear in 2017. His two collections of haiku – The Regulars and The Lammas Lands – and co-written/edited (with John Barlow) anthology, Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku, were published by Snapshot Press. He lives in Rotherham, blogs at and tweets @MatthewPaulPoet.

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