They’ve Changed the Guards

We smile at the guards and they smile
back, as our buggy crosses the forecourt
and cameras outside the gates click.

I introduce you to Security as my Sister.

In the State Rooms a breeze creeps in
from the wide moat of garden, bringing
with it a faint murmur of traffic.
We admire the ceilings and, teasing,
suggest recycling the thrones.

In a pub, on the way home,
I admire the mould of your mouth;
thinking wryly of my envy when
your portrait was hung in the hail,

We get on to tonsils: you remember
returning from hospital; I remember
being left there
—the talk stumbles here—

but catches up again as we career
across the countryside, both riding
shotgun for speed cameras.

When we say goodbye, I think for once,
we are not just kissing air.

Olivia Byard

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