I’ve got wasps in the attic
and I’m frightened to go up,
afraid of being dive-bombed
by the past.

Black lines on yellowing paper
lurk in half surrendered boxes,
words that I’m afraid of
hover menacingly.

Best leave it for another time
when cold winds sting me to the core
and the debris of summer
lies scattered all around.

Then no doubt I’ll cop it
and the over-wintering queen
will take me unawares
when I’m alone.



the sum of all my fears

that mouse you saw in the hall
turned out to be a rat
admittedly small and docile
but still a rat
when I went in for the kill
it curled up in my palm
puny and piebald
its little pink fingers entwined
its tiny red eyes
watery and so very human
I should strangle it I thought
that’s what you do with rats
but feeling its neck begin to crack
like last Sunday’s chicken bones
I hesitated

I can’t do this I thought
so let it scuttle down the garden path instead
from where black and arched
like a cartoon villain
it turned to leer

now like the sum of all my fears
it will return
and I’ll be waiting