Safe

Sandra Kohls

The muffled chatter of the grown ups
Downstairs blether, teacups clatter
Silver on china, like a heartbeat
A gentle thud of feet up and down
stairs that with childish metallic glee
the Slinky whirred and bomffed its way

The front door opens with Chinese tinkles
Cheery hellos from predictable voices
Kitchen wafts of guid thick broth
where hours before the Lego men
scrabbled in their wee brick houses
and sailed their linoleum seas

The coal bucket clinks against the grate
on duty for the morra’s shift, it guards
Waiting for the hoot of the bakers van,
the cry of the fish and the grocer vans
Proclaiming their wares, loud messages
as peenies and purses get sorted

Cooried under blankets, I drowse and drift
The sliding doors beneath me wheech
and wheesht along their runners, a constant
lullaby of wood and glass, unmoved
Holder curls in and reflects
while Mercury points at the ceiling

The clickety clack of high heels echo
The last bus deposits gossip and giggles
Tales of lumbers and dancing drift
up through the lamp-lit curtained shadows
Voices fading one by one, until the last
sneaks into the bed beside me.

Sandra Kohls has worked in so many countries that her feet are no longer itchy, though they do still tingle occasionally. She’s taught English, trained teachers, waited tables, served beer, kept books, sold oil paintings door-to-door and served petrol with a smile, all of which have introduced her to enough characters to last her a lifetime of stories. Her work has been published in From Glasgow to Saturn, Flashflood and Landmarks: The National Flash-Fiction Day anthology, among others. She has an MLitt from the University of Glasgow and is also an editor of the crime fiction anthology, Crooked Holster.

Photo credit: Eunice Chung

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