This poem was shortlisted for the Westport Arts Festival Poetry Competition 2016.
Open House at Shady Pines
They trudge in, trailing cheap perfume,
parading polyester slacks and cut-
price crap from T K Maxx.
Not one of them is here to buy.
Ours is an ‘open house’; a free-for-all
where folk can snuffle through our smalls
and nary a nook is out of bounds.
There isn’t a thing I can do.
We’ve over twenty floral rooms,
well-groomed grounds, a spacious
lounge – yet still it’s on the market
and so still they tramp through.
I sit here in my winged armchair
(a wedding gift from darling Bert)
as strangers coo ‘How’re you coping
without him, dear?’ and slope past
on their way to visit Walter with claw-
hands, Marsha with pishy pants, Harry
with gammy foot or Deirdre, bald as a coot
(why these codgers linger here’s beyond me).
Away, I say, Shady Pines is up for sale,
Bert put it on the market himself.
He’s always been fit as a butcher’s dog,
but this place grew too big for two.
We’ll find a buyer, shake off these chumps,
and nestle in our bungalow. We’ll gather
in its cosy hall, allow the blessed latch
to fall, and bar the door to every soul.