The Edge of Space and Greengage Jelly (Winner of The PHRAS National Poetry Competition)

Darkly curved the convent corridors in chocolate brown,

the squeak of plimsolls on lino,

the scent of incense from the chapel.

Jesus nailed above my head.

Filing crocodile fashion to the market town,

feeling a fool in white lace gloves and unholy guilt.

Everything neatly arranged in rows;

blazers, boaters, bicycles, girls.

Nuns sliding through shadows deeper than dark

and the carnal, bloody smells from the bacon factory

on Eau-De-Cologne Street,

mingled with the scent of menstruation.

Protected by the Holy Grotto

we swigged sweet cider and puffed on dog-ends,

lurking with intent behind Our Lady’s secret smile,

spirals of smoke drifting

from beneath her blue plaster skirts,

a miracle of sorts.

And at supper Dymphna McGuire said

she would gladly walk backwards and barefoot

to the end of the Universe

for a date with Ringo.

Which prompted me to explain my theory

on the edge of space

using greengage jelly.

Infinity is a bugger to unscramble

before double Geography,

on a Thursday.