Bay of Pigs

Our mums pushed us on the swings
and talked about the end of the world.
Russians, they said, nuclear bombs,
radioactive. What if? You never knew
what might happen, bloody Commies,
iron curtain, on telly. Ssh. The children.

My mum stocked the larder with tins
of carnation milk and wondered how
she’d get all her washing done. When
and if. I imagined tiny pink piglets,
like the plaster models in the butcher’s,
rooting in the sand and squealing.

Mum said not to worry when I woke up
crying at night, she wasn’t going to die
and she wouldn’t let bad things happen,
besides I had to stop my earwigging.
I could hear the telly from my bedroom.
If Krushchev. If Kennedy. Crisis.



Sharon Phillips stopped writing poetry in 1976 and started again forty years later, after retiring from her career in education. Her poems have been published online and in print and she is currently studying for an MFA at York St. John University. Originally from Bristol, Sharon now lives in Otley, West Yorkshire.