A practical man

It seems Old John, Irish John,

(you know, Nice John, who taught you

to ride your bicycle when we first moved here)

has murdered his wife in the night.

Old John, hands like spades, slow as treacle.


He did it while she was asleep –

I expect he didn’t want to hurt her.

He’d made her a cheese and pickle sandwich

and tucked her up

on the put-u-up downstairs.


Because since the op she couldn’t,

and wouldn’t ever, manage the stairs again.

It was a practical thing.

Like killing chickens.

By morning she was dead. Blunt trauma

to the head. It was a bit of a mess,

the Policeman said.

Didn’t know his own strength, maybe.


He tried to bury her in the garden

next to the cats,

it’s what she would’ve wanted but

he’s not as young as he was.


So he called over the fence –

told the neighbours to call the Police

to help. We saw them putting him in the van, handcuffed,

in his dressing gown, they were careful he didn’t bang his head.


It was better than watching her fade away, I expect.

Slow as treacle.


Linda Cash

Image, Nico Beard, Unsplash