Have ye seen owt of my bonny lad?

Frankie lies in bed, zombied
staring at the ceiling.
He sees no point in getting up.
His radio alarm is babbling quietly
then he hears it – music
that takes him back to primary school:
sitting on the carpet in a circle.
A good neat circle
with our feet tucked in, not kicking our neighbours
says Miss;
she puts the tape in the cassette recorder
looks round at everyone
and presses the button:
it clicks, there’s a hiss, a pause –
the piano notes sound
this woman sings so sadly:
Have you seen owt of my bonnie lad
And are you sure he’s weel oh
He’s gone ower land with his stick in his hand
He’s gone to moor the keel oh

he remembers looking out of the window
seeing the river, the cranes, their empty hooks
swaying gently in the wind
he imagines her tall and worried
walking beside the water
her hand up to her eyes
searching, singing, getting the reply:
Yes, I’ve seen your bonnie lad
Upon the sea I spied him
His grave is green but not with grass
And thoult never lie aside him

Here it is again, her song
circling his heart,
and Frankie makes a decision.

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