John D. Robinson

The Muttered Hymns

She jumped in her mid-teens from
middle-class university future into
the world of sex and drugs: speed
was her choice and later, alcohol:
our mothers were life-long friends
so she and I had known each
other since toddlers: I was sweet
on her and I think she felt the
same but we never got it
she had two daughters by
some fucking vicious speed-
freak, she couldn’t look after
them and they were removed
from her care:
she became obliterated,
homeless, her body swelled
and her skin yellow and she
died a few weeks after a
savage beating from some
useless piece of shit:
a few years previous she
had called on me: we sat
and drank wine and smoked
hash, she wasn’t in too bad shape,
I had thoughts of intimacy but I
knew she was vulnerable and
maybe lonely and looking for a
little safe friendship where she
could relax for a while and
that was enough:
she was cremated, a small
number attended: one of her
daughter’s was serving 15
years for attempted murder
and was handcuffed to 2
prison officers, her other sister
was present, both were weeping:
prayers were said and hymns
were muttered quietly and as
we filed out I could hold back
no more as my eyes gave way
to tears as I walked away into
a day that needed drowning
in sorrow and alcohol.

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