A Pair of Red Shoes
The start of your life was the end of empire
as they lifted you to the pyramid’s top
with your wind-up gramophone and desert smile.
The start of your life was a sandstorm
that buried golden plates and suits of armour
strobing through seamless royal palaces.
The start of your life was a pair of red shoes
worn once at a children’s party
where you danced with young Farouk.
The start of your life was the end of trunks
dizzy with dresses for the summer season
your mother, for some reason, never returned to Harrods.
The start of your life was the end of bell boys and tweenies,
the beginning of bombs and doodlebugs, the flattened silence of Hull,
the sonic boom of your memory singing.
Richard Hawtree’s poems have appeared in literary magazines including: The Stinging Fly, Banshee, The Honest Ulsterman, SOUTH, and The Penny Dreadful. His pamphlet The Night I Spoke Irish in Surrey was published earlier this year by Dempsey and Windle.