CWI August 2019 Winner

Falling Angels

For my mother with love

Peter Branson


The conjuror behind closed doors, she mine,

me hers, she scrubs our mangled family life

starch-white; stems tears, irons creases out, darns holes;

small miracles – makes money stretch the week.

Her present tense is all I know and we

are doted on, consumes her too, except

she talks, obsessively with age, the friend

she met at school and worked with till she wed.

Good Catholic girls and ballroom all the rage,

their petticoats’ live bubbles in champagne,

they soar as light as air. The tenor sax

outplays his luck – she’s got enough to go

professional. Bait, line and hook she shies

from at the time sustains her all her days.