Simon’s Box


Chiselled with charisma
Suave, walnut veneer,
it rests heavy on the driftwood shelf.

Chequered ribbon, Yin and Yang,
ties the Celtic brass handle on top
to the jailor's key, in the of Mother of Pearl lock.

It is lined with vanilla faded crush
hitched in place with fraying cord,
like the cord that shortened his young life.

Swirled inside I find a list
in burly black biro, his script
‘Essential Oils We Have’:

Ylang Ylang, Lemongrass and Geranium;
essential for what, I would ask myself.
Medicines to cure my husband’s pain.

Memories of manic times, when Si went mad;
mad about oils and cleansing.
He scrubbed his pores, until he had no scent.

In tea light candles he would bathe
and watch, as I dripped pure tears
of aromatherapy oils, in his bath.

They glistened and glowed around his shape
and made him shine like Marlon Brando
at the end of Apocalypse Now.

A crimson candle lies on its side
in the tomb of the walnut box
snapped at its neck, beaten and brave.

It rests on a bed of ashes
made from tinsel
and Christmas crackers.


Jane Bennett