‘Robbie-Alan’ by Alan Parry

Originally published in https://www.peachvelvetmag.com/spring-19

In the lounge, positioned under the upright piano

is a regimented row of his shined leather boots,

and he keeps his old accordion in a box, snug

between the spindly legs of the telephone table

in the bay window. Arranged on the pelmet is

a collection of novelty pencil sharpeners bought

in National Trust gift shops and their empty

boxes live in the pantry under the stairs

alongside jars and jars of homemade marmalade.

On the inside of that cupboard door, over the years

he has recorded the heights of his grandchildren

with blue biro etchings. But his most treasured

items must be the letters and sketches he posted

home when he was evacuated to Bangor during the war,

and he keeps them safe in a locked suitcase with

an ARP helmet and a Mickey Mouse gas mask.

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