Footfall

She played the organ in the country church
while he took the collection, pew by pew.
She improvised on one of that day’s hymns
up there in the loft, facing the wrong way,
but knew when she should close her interlude
and let the priest receive the offerings
the worshippers had ‘rendered unto God’
because her husband’s progress up the aisle
was audible: he wore old-fashioned brogues
with steel-edged heels that sounded on the tiles.
So when he died, her timing was less sure;
sometimes her fingers still explored the keys
and made the vicar wait with box in hand.
A few weeks later she gave up the post
and afterwards she said, ‘The thing I miss,
on Sundays now, is listening for his heels.’