Old friends and perfume

Old friends and perfume

Half a century

Of tea and toast

Invisible and indivisible bond

That knows no politics


Or wealth

You still make do

And mend

Like the Plumstead girl

You are

Though you have

Both swimming pool

And tennis court

And live on the other side

Of the world

We slot back in

Like keys in well-oiled locks

Remembering the past

Designing our futures

Speech without breaks

As if we might

Run out of air

Joints creak

And I repeat myself

As we plan a class reunion

And wonder who will come

Some mothers die young

And so we cling

Our conversation flowing

And flipping

From laptops

To perfume

As we drink tea

And eat toast



Hidden deleted

Hidden deleted

By Bonnie Meekums


On Christmas Day

I send a merry Christmas text

To family and friends

Scroll through my phone

And there you are

Your number, name, address

And birthday

Stubbornly hidden


Like the voicemails I came home to

The pictures I still hold

Inside my head

The film plays on

Where you are young

Vibrant, inquiring



My fingers pause

In that made-up moment

Of green buttons pressed

And news imparted

Troubles shared

And halved

But sensibly

I press delete

And you are gone




Those dark satanic mills – undated

Those dark satanic mills

By Bonnie Meekums


Where are they now

Those bright young souls

Whose chatter filled the air

Whose bodies spilled onto the streets

When the whistle blew?

Friendships sealed with waves and kisses

As they single filed

Towards the bus

With heavy limbs and tired eyes

And a spring in their step

To take them home

For now, the mill stands empty

The deafening looms now


And lights that once shone all night long

Replaced by blackness

No blue plaque here

To mark their lives, their love, their laughter

Their hopes and tears

Only our memories

Fading fast


Who will I tell

When a brass band plays

On a summer’s day

Or a son gets wed

To a beautiful bride

Or daughter returns

To rest a while

Before leaving

A wound

Only you understand

Who will I tell

When I hold in my arms

For the very first time

A longed-for child

When she cuts her first tooth

Or speaks my name

Now that you’r e gone

Who will I tell

When I have no more to tell?

Bonnie Meekums