My wife assured me it was dog shit
on my trainers, crushed into the hallway
runners cut from mum’s old carpet.
I thought it was human. Human shit.
A smell that knew my name.
I washed my hands three times.
Our daughter rubbed the dark rings
around her eyes. ‘Are you still my little
princess?’ I asked. ‘Yeah,’ she said.
My throat is sore from shouting.
Sore from shrieking ‘Lord!’ and ‘Shit!’
Maybe I’m sick like the others.
My wife assured me it wasn’t human.
I left my trainers by the front door
and traced my steps looking for stains.
The stink made me think of insides.
The insides of a monster, perhaps, or
a man who doesn’t want to go to hospital.
I sat on the bed pulling my thick hair.
Pulling and twisting it, cackling mad.
Then we cleaned the hallway
together, visualising shitty particles
vanishing like a tribal language.
Our flat was a place where love
sometimes cried for hours, hours
and hours and hours, while my shattered
wife sang ‘Hush, Little Baby…’
wearing her mother’s tatty slippers
and a dressing gown that used to be white.
BOBBY PARKER was born in 1982 in Kidderminster, England, where he still lives with his wife and daughter. His writing has been widely published. His publications include Ghost Town Music and its sequel Comberton (The Knives Forks and Spoons Press). His first full-length poetry collection, Blue Movie is almost completed and ready to find a home.