Boxing Day

The house is quiet,


empty everywhere,

except the fridge and the rubbish bins.


The furniture is all back in familiar places.

Everything is tidy,




The gingerbread house is as beautiful –

untouched and still in cellophane –

as when it arrived

but there’s not much more pudding.


A decanter holds the whiff

of Papa’s Apricot Special

a cocktail recipe so old

that it calls for sauterne,

Italian and French vermouth,

although it’s years

since they were called that here.

The mix has lost none of its potency

for the years since his wobbly hand

penned ingredients and method,

and it still includes instructions for how to adjust

if too sweet for men.


There’s not a clean teatowel left in the house.

Not one,

and the bathmat is a hand towel.


The weeks of cleaning in and out,

of planning,

and buying,

and wrapping,

and baking,

and assembling,

and sleepwaking

are done.


Down the hallway the smoke alarm tweets

echoes echoes echoes,

as if in forlorn



for the madness chaos and noise

of Christmas Day.