The robins

I am sitting at the table

in front of an empty fireplace

heater blaring

the smell of bolognaise and

Nina Simone


for James –


his brother

is probably on the way to a jazz club by now


stuffing baked potatoes

with pulled pork –


‘corn?’ he asks and

the two

tilt their heads

as if robins,

she from one

and he the other side

of the counter,

waiting for the glutinous

‘plop’ that will come

when it breaks the



this must be

how it sounded when

Armstrong stepped

out of Eagle lunar

into the moon’s powder-grey dust,


or deep-sea divers

kick into the atrium

of a submarine


as my son does

for time to pump

across the septa –


soon the divers

in full face masks will be on their way

Aldrin will follow and

Michael will roll up his mat

and pack the old kettle and toaster that I set aside

when I replaced them

for just such an occasion –


it is in

the prospect of his leaving &

my littlest bursting in from the

cold, excitedly

telling me about recursive coding

or reading      me


his     poem


that I think about

how long I waited,

for permission to take my life seriously


became that age to which my

insurgent self

once deferred


Dionne Lew