Andy Breckenridge

Prison Visit

the jailer punches 
numbers on the keypad
the huge metal 
roars open 
to vectors 
of disinfectant 
the squeak 
of rubber soles
scrape of chair legs

your hands rest on mine 

the tea is deep brown cold
your nails are bitten 
to the quick
and your fingers twitch 
like a dreaming dog

I tell you your uncle 
is no better
our boy still delivers 
for Just Eats
to pay his fees
and likes beer 
that tastes of grapefruit
your mum 
has a different carer
three times a day

I ask if you remember 
walking where the wind 
scoured the hills 
and the stunted trees 
stooped away from it
and our faces burned 
eyes streamed

the same wind 
rattles the slates 
burns my mind back
to these four walls
my cellmate’s stench 
his snores that break
like distant waves
all night long

your hands withdraw
fingers comb back 
your hair 

you look up at me
a lens 
only now 
finding focus

The Dark Of The Matinee 

‘Eternity’ has five star reviews
     the cinema is full 

for the first hour 
an ocean of heads 
on a street near an underground station 
          and drift 
in and out 
                      of focus

I excuse myself
no one slants their legs to let me past

at the urinal - relief
I wash my hands 
return to find the scene is now the interior 
     of a gent’s toilet

and your seat is empty

I’m muscled towards the exit
come to on the steps     shield my eyes 
from the hard 

you squeeze my hand

in the cinema they are watching footage of us          


I slide in the notebook containing this poem
a couple near the front 
          become        restless

Flights, Issue Eight, March 2023