You’d been warned about frostbite: the pins
And needles, fingers feeling like the static
On the telly. And your mum also said
Always to point the sparkler away from you,
Gloved hands holding tight the wavering wand.
You drew letters in the air that spelt out
It would have been many years later, at a different
Kind of autumn, when the message could have
Made the difference. By that stage you and he
Had already ended your display, the bonfire
A barrow of steaming dust, ready to clear out;
The crowd was clearing, the air was dark with ash,
The rockets, bangs and dazzlers all used up.
Your late mum’s advice may have come in handy, now:
But this time, you and he had grasped too quickly
The wrong end of the stick. You looked down
As your right hand held onto the ember
So tightly, the palm was bitten out of it,
Right at the place where the spark had given out.