Issue 9: Tom Phillips (for Peter Robinson)

Here After All

For Peter Robinson


Beneath pink stucco facades,

slung hocks of purple ham,

we milled on the threshold

of another couple’s wedding day

among guests who themselves

arrived too early or late.


After three weeks brought us as close

as failed calls’ repetitive pips last night,

there it was, as far as we’d get,

a perfect lack of coincidence.

A distracted passer-by let on

he wasn’t sure if he’d seen you in days.


Was it time to turn for home?

Tram cables, dusty sunlight,

names I almost recognised

(except we’d never been this way before)

were threatening to become

occasions to be spoken of

at a later date.


Tourists twice over on borrowed ground

and short of a guide-book suggestion,

we might just have left

on a convenient afternoon train.

I was trying the family’s patience

until –  as if by chance –

gravel paths through the Parco Ducale

brought us out of shade,

to the lip of a fountain cistern

as dark carp rose where you said they’d be,

nosing the surface, here for all to see.

Tom Phillips is a poet, playwright and journalist living in Bristol. His first full-length collection of poetry, Recreation Ground, was published by Two Rivers Press in 2012.