It’s Time 

By Jen Hall


The pills again 

He jams it in me hand, says to me 

These cost three and six, and what is it 

The fifth time now? Knock ‘em down, quiet now 

Then get to the bar. I’ll have a Newkey Brown 

You hear that jazz over the crowd? 


What’re you mad about – 

Two danced that tango, I say 

And receive the back of his hand for my mouth  

Lip torn in the corner, shiny red dried to black 

Still good enough to kiss 

If you’d call it that. 


He sees the stain in me knickers 

Picks them out the bin with the tip of his finger 

Groaning, like it ain’t a regular thing now 

It’s the pills, Love, that’s what 

The little one comes out like 

Frightened of a bit of blood are we? 


Hurry up, time’s getting on 

He says, raising his voice above the din 

Little George, my own king  

Almost put me in my grave, but I won’t die 

I hush him to sleep and we head out 

They look through me like they know 


You’re looking worn for thirty-one 

He says. You done? Your cheek’s the 

Colour of Margate shingles under a sad sky 

Well when you treat me like a landfill, I say 

Coming and going, and coming  

Time likes to take its toll at the bridge  


Hurry up please, it’s time 

That means you Lillian, me old vaudevillian  

He says, passing me a final scotch 

Burns smarter than the pain down below 

As I notice in the corner a feller making notes 

His eyes spell out my name