Three Poems by Roddy Williams

Phone Call from Wales

She asks if I have news
and I say ‘No’

then in that pause I hear the thready keening wind
of distance
that I stole from Harold Pinter

I hear the out-of-focus voices
from TV
and I wonder if she knits them into
sense when they string through

Then she asks if I’ve had dinner so
I say I’m making curry
and I hear that sound of ages

she is sucking back a sigh

both to hide her disapproval and
to show me where it’s hidden
in the ‘Well, I’ll let you go then’
that she’s worn to threadbare whispers

I have offered her a new one
but she says that this one fits her
and she’s comfortable
with what she’s used to

the wearing down and hanging up
until the next time


i know the noises
of my night-time prayer

the tv clicks the congregation’s muffled chatter
to attentive quiet

the bathroom door creaks open
like a rusty bible


a moment of silence

the bathroom door gives the response

a trinity of light switches
hall and holy stairs
and then he amens
up to bed
like a suitable answer


your face is the thread
that stitches days together
tight as the old pedal singer
used to
rattling as my hands pushed our
under its precise needle

it sits in my mother’s
back bedroom now
silent as an ended seam
sometimes i sit and stare and wonder

the unravelling
the reel spinning naked
when the cotton
snakes down to a ragged finish


Originally from North Wales, Roddy Williams now lives in London. His poetry has appeared in The North, The Frogmore Papers, Magma, The Rialto, Envoi and other magazines. He’s had two plays performed in London, is currently working on his first novel and is a keen surrealist photographer, print maker and painter.

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