Tom’s warmest smile is the sun at its prime. He swaggers in his baggy trousers, pipe smoke drifting in whirls as he hums pitch imperfect. His satin smooth fingers tap the beat.
Tom’s a firebrand, risking quicksand; never the doubting kind.
Saturday mornings, the bell sings as he steps into the New Town Bookshop, slips down hushed aisles skims, searches, dreams. Eat your heart out, Bertrand Russell.
Sunday afternoons, seated with quiet son, chatty daughter, sharing rainy matinees, his eyes brim milk-moist, skin mopped dry with a crumpled hankie.
Weekdays, he hugs Gran, strokes Tweed, waves cheerio, twice, brings Nessie wildflowers on a whim; her family man, our gentle man.
Maggie Mackay’s pamphlet ‘The Heart of the Run’ (2018) is published by Picaroon Poetry and her full collection ‘A West Coast Psalter’, Kelsay Books, is available now. In 2020 she was awarded a place in the Poetry Archive’s WordView permanent collection. She reviews poetry pamphlets at https://sphinxreview.co.uk (Happenstance Press) and loves to daydream with a dram.
There he sits in dusk in his favourite chair and the fiddle comes jigging, jigging, his fingers drumming Carmina Burana, baton-hand Beethoven strings, head nodding in a dream within my dream.
Tobacco tang swirls across his eyes slipping like melt. Golden Virginia, a gold packet, crackles to life. There’s a library book open, waiting to be read. He’s walking, walking to what counts.
Walk to me. Forty years of seasons and ageing, and a blackbird’s song.
My Father as a Zephyr
Lightest of all things, he blows in light of a perpetual spring, scatters the salty Clyde with early summer breezes, with seaweed fronds on soft foam, fruit of our childhood holidays. His soft stirring smile greets aquamarine. His wind-song dances on fiddle strings, sotto. The west wind restores dear ones with a tease, a coorie-in, a purr.
Previously published by Three Drops from a Cauldron and nominated for The Pushcart Prize, 2017/18
Maggie Mackay loves family history which she incorporates into work in print and online journals. She is a Poetry Masters graduate of The Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University. She has a poem in the award-winning #MeToo anthology. Others have been nominated for The Forward Prize, Best Single Poem with one commended in the Mothers’ Milk Writing Prize. Her pamphlet ‘The Heart of the Run’ is published by Picaroon Poetry and the booklet ‘Sweet Chestnut’ published by Karen Little in aid of animal welfare. She is a reviewer for https://www.sphinxreview.co.uk/
Dad was a maker of magic. He rose above our wee catastrophes, mined for shiny coins to treat us to Knickerbocker Glories at Nardini’s. Their rainbow layers made us smile, the ruler length spoon, the wafer arched like a Spanish fan, the tall glass waiting for a rose. On wet afternoons we queued at the Dominion, Smartie tubes squashed in our pockets. The curtains swished back – wheesht – as Pearl and Dean sang out. I slid into velvet. Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion in Winter, The Big Screen. My Dad.
Abracadabra was previously published in Pod Holiday Special, at The Fat Damsel, August 2016
Maggie Mackay, a Scottish lover of jazz and a good malt, is in her final Masters year at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has work in print and online including The Everyday Poet edited by Deborah Alma, Amaryllis,Bare Fiction, The Fat Damsel, The Interpreter’s House, The Poetry Shed, Prole, I am Not a Silent Poet,Three Drops Press and Indigo Dreams Publishing.