Christmas Day and Uncle Frank
is glued to the Queen’s Speech.
Her pigeon voice glides over
oceans and out of the fraying
mouth of a wireless.
She wishes us well
stuck at far-flung corners
of the Commonwealth
those pink blobs inside our atlas.
There is killing in Africa –
words chanted in a black tongue
Mau Mau, Mau Mau
like the crying of strange birds.
God will defend us.
Uncle Frank stares into an empty
sherry glass, his face a continent
of pink. A year ago his Margaret
was plucked from her larkspur
her snap dragon, her Penelope
On the way out we brush
their pale cheeks.