Andrew Shields: a poem



Highgate


"I don't want to get into a debate

about the screwdriver. I admit

I lost it, and I should have told you."


As she began to slowly clap and clap,

he couldn't read the look on her face.

Underneath the dust jacket of her smile


was the bland flat colour of a hardcover

that says nothing about how the book

"deconstructs the genre of autobiography"


or "bridges the gap between fact

and fantasy". By now she surely knew

he'd lost not just the screwdriver


but the thread of their conversation.

When his bear's ears fell off

because he'd chewed them so,


his grandmother took her needle

and sewed up Teddy just in time

for cuddling after goodnight kisses.


The clapping stopped. She turned away.

Her step was soft as she left the room.

The light shining through the window


cast the shadow of a cross on the floor

and under the bed he saw a screwdriver.

It reminded him of something.



Andrew Shields lives in Basel, Switzerland. His collection of poems Thomas Hardy Listens to Louis Armstrong was published by Eyewear in 2015. His band Human Shields released the album Somebody's Hometown in 2015 and the EP Défense de jouer in 2016.