QUEEN OF THE GYPSIES
Gap-toothed and clothed in the black
Of perpetual mourning,
She lived a half-life,
In an old wooden cabin, behind
Greying net curtains and
Four waving pine trees.
I knew her for a witch.
On Sundays her sons came visiting,
With the dock-tailed cob and the trolley cart,
Leading Mandy to the shed around the back
They tied her up.
Dutifully they took tea,
Watching as Queenie mumbled seed cake.
Bringing her coal and kindling, they
Told her how their families got on,
Feeding her gossip eough for the week,
If I was playing by the cherry tree,
She would always notice, and
Cross the road, fumbling her apron pocket
And pinching my cheek with sandpaper fingers.
She would smile horridly, and
Press a pack of three wrapped biscuits in my hand.
They were always soft.
This evokes such strong memories in me, and I am back living in the 1950s in my head this morning. I can still feel the fear of seeing the "witch" coming towards me.. . Bless her, she must have been so lonely, and had obviously been a loving mum.
Hopefully I have just got rid of the white background and green lettering that came from typing it up as an office document, and then cutting and pasting.