Pruning the Past by Phil McNulty


The dogs are barking

and it’s there again

in our hedge.

You can’t say I’m dreaming.

I see it moving, shaking

clipping, pruning.

Slipping between privets.


On Monday, I thought I saw a hand

taking birdseed, filching peanuts.

Yesterday it pulled in plastic bags.

Made a shelter of dead leaves

and knitted branches,

still sparse ‘til summer’s growth.

I see a slender shape

a  vaguely crouching form.


I’m old enough for answers.


What did happen to Mum

All those years ago?

All we were told

was that she went out,

to buy some seceteurs.

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