Watching Tai Chi in the Park in December

She casts her spells
under weeping trees.

Look down.
You landed here by chance,

lured by the festive glow
of a ruined bandstand,

caught up in a honeytrap
of peeling paint and decay.

You both come here
to comb the air for ghosts,

but only her hands
have learnt to say,

Stop. Don’t leave me. Stay.
Christmas creeps in

and you must be content
with nature’s way

to balance the books.
Watch how she fills

her pretend envelopes
with love letters

written in breath,
then slits the air,

posts them nowhere.
Her body knows instinctively

when to let slide,
when to side step,

when to push, let slip,
and when to line up

all the open doors,
in order to gently

kick them shut. She turns
the key, locks you out,

leaves you behind
with your black dog

chasing its tail
and the crying babies,

as her own body relaxes
back into the glory

of the fall of summer,
the slowing spin,

gently moving emptiness
from one place to another.


Joanne Key lives in Cheshire where she writes poetry and short fiction. Her poems have appeared in various places, online and in print. She won 2nd prize in the 2014 National Poetry Competition.