Lime Green Dress
Funeral uniform spells out
in black and white (but mainly black)
one common sure belief:
we’re born, we die. That’s it.
The lad in the lime green dress
and bright pink socks is not
taking the piss. His tears insist
that this is how it has to be.
Stevie, back from Helmand,
had sat in the tower block flat,
shivering, swigging vodka,
telling Gaz about the IEDs.
Don’t like go on about it, right?
Gaz wants to move, chat up some girls
but Stevie’s on a roll.
He doesn’t plan to let it go.
He’d done Iraq, but this was worse.
Any minute, anyone could go.
KERPOW! Your sergeant’s lost his face.
His guts slip through your hands.
Gaz hadn’t seen him scared.
Stevie’s the livewire kid
you’d bet would put a smile on your face.
If I go back, I won’t come home alive.
Top up the glasses. Fight the fear,
the baddie in the video game,
by zapping it with laughs. He promises.
A dress, yeah? Either pink or green.
The volleyed rifle shots
crack off the stones. Gaz asks the grave
D’you like the colour of the dress?
Then he gets it. There’ll be no reply.