Three Minute Burrito – Nicola Heaney

Three Minute Burrito

He’s lost the run of himself again,
gone somewhere we can’t follow.
There’s a flint grey in his unkempt beard
that glitters in his eyes
as if he’s hardened to stone.

The first time, it was a shock, but now
I spring into action. I know what to do.
Or at least I thought I did,
but this time, there’s no chink of light –
I’ve lost sight of him in the fortress of his mind.

I’d help, if he’d open the door
to let me in – the image of him alone
in his bare flat with the door broken
down by the men I called to retrieve him
drips on the back of my skull.

Between calls to the police and crisis team,
hand poised over my phone waiting for news
that he’s safe, I find time to eat,
wolfing the burrito down in three minutes,
resenting him for dragging me away

from the earthiness of the black beans
and the tanginess of the salsa verde
as I rush back to him, guilt
rising with the acid in my throat.


Nicola Heaney’s poetry has appeared in The North, Honest Ulsterman and Riggwelter Press. Originally from Northern Ireland but now living in the West Country (via Scotland and Spain), Nicola has recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University

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