Growing up in Warwickshire, heading north to York, then finally south to settle in West London, Oliver Comins has had his poetry collected in pamphlets from The Mandeville Press and Templar Poetry. His full collection, Oak Fish Island, was published in 2018.
Brown Leather Gloves
These are my Father’s gloves
with which I am wrestling
as I walk down to the station
on another crisp morning
of frosted cars in a frozen suburb.
Who’s holding whose hands now?
Inside the gloves’ fingers there’s
more of him than there is of me –
all those years of rubbed skin.
Leather gives a better grip,
doesn’t really overcome the cold.
But it’s better than nothing,
this thin layer of brown
which keeps the weather off.
On the platform
I remove one Father,
reach out to greet a friend.
My other Father holds me steady.
Eight for (Almost) Nothing
Doug bowled floaters which travelled slowly
through the air, almost settling as they landed.
Some days the ball soared over the boundary,
cutting his spell short. On others, their batters,
groggy or over-excited, made a pig’s ear of it,
so our hero bowled through them with a smile,
not knowing much more than his opponents.
That day was one of those, his eight for (almost)
nothing a remarkable feat, and their captain said
he’d write it up for the local press. Daft, really,
to have believed he’d do that and not be left,
twenty-five years later, writing and wondering
if anyone out there reading this remembers
the all-night grin on Doug’s face, celebrating.
Brown Leather Gloves: Anthology of Fatherhood
(The Emma Press)
Eight for (Almost) Nothing: The Rialto (Issue 94)
Not a Stranger: first published under the title
She is Not a Stranger in Westerly (Issue 66.1)
Not a Stranger
My neighbour’s carer does not come
from round here. The same can be said
for most of us who call this place home
after moving in from somewhere else.
Water running in the taps on this street
tastes different to what we drank before.
Light slants another way above the roofs
to shadow the paths that run between
these orderly semis. For some people
my neighbour’s carer is still a stranger.
This positioning is neither correct nor fair.
She is one of us and she is living here
with a purpose. My neighbour has needs.
I often overhear the two of them talking –
re-confirming the day of the week it is
and deciding what ought to happen next.
Occasionally, I hear my neighbour’s carer
singing in the kitchen, and at these times,
I hope my neighbour is sitting nearby,
tapping out the melody with her fingers.