Weeds grow where they want to; not where they're told to...


Andy Hickmott

Legal lows


Once, when I respected my elders

a tobacconist was really someone

I could look up to.

Parting with my hair ruffled,

one fist clenched about my change,

a fragrant foil-wrapped block

or a sweet-smelling pouch

in my other hand, forfeiting

an Airfix kit for a duty performed.


Years passed, my gifts grew more

elaborate, English cigarettes

ferried home from France:

HM Customs let it pass,

their one concern, their failure,

that I smoke them myself.


Here, now a respirator breathes

through the dog end

of my still smouldering mother.

She speaks with egg-white eyes

and impermanent marks on a dry-wipe slate.

‘I’m frightened,’ she scratches out;

I know, I tell her, I know.

Her passing is unexceptional, though,

no need for public enquiry.



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