Queen of the North
to Auntie Dorothy
She was the postcard, then the sea that we competed to be the first to see. Yet we found her half-way up the scrubbed doorsteps of Belle Vue Street, plump from the padding of our future treats.
Her skin, scented with carbolic soap, hung like an overall printed that fortnight with our tickets for shows: Harry Corbett and Sooty, Alma Cogan, Punch and Judy.
In the open-air theatre of Peasholm Park, she was the actress that put on the dark to turn it light, and give us parts in every major scene on the watersplash, the miniature train. She pulled cash
from her sleeves for goes on swingboats, chairoplanes. As heads in curlers and mops shook from windows, we skipped in her jollity, swapped rhymes with kids on the street.
For hide and seek she brought in the sea mist – then pushed it back; on the hit list for coronary disease. The archetypal aunt everyone requires. How we holidayed in the stasis of her presence, yet stayed