The Surprise

© By Siobhan Campbell

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A landlady as mean as Ireland in the fifties.
The one boiled egg,“it’s a cooked breakfast, isn’t it?”,
Towels with a rough touch exfoliate our skin;
A cowed son who looks as though she’s worn him thin.
They despise us for staying at their meagre B and B.
She’ll turn off the heat once we leave for the day.

In the breakfast room, above the no-brand cornflakes,
the red bloom of the Sacred Heart is bleeding.
And opposite, all smiles, an airbrushed JFK.
Two gods in one? They could do with a good cleaning.

She hears my thought.“I must take them down”, she says,
“put Paisley there, Bigfoot though he is, he led,
and that other fellah, came back to the people in the end
and handsome enough I suppose, in his own way.”

From: Cross-Talk (Bridgend: Seren Books)

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