Chrys Salt (left) and Tessa Ransford (below) along with Pauline Prior-Pitt, also read at Wordpower Bookshop as part of the Edinburgh Bookfringe, in August 2011.
(Photographs courtesy of Mike Knowles)
Uncle Bert could fold a hanky
and make a mouse run up his arm.
One flick of his forefinger,
it vaulted his sailor tattoos
and ran up to his shoulder
Uncle Bert could make a penny disappear
then re-appear behind your ear
And whichever card you picked from the pack
he always knew which one it was
even if you changed your mind and put
the one you first thought of
We’d bet all our pocket money on which cup
Aunti Cis’s thimble was under. Concentrate like hawks
as he switched them on the shiny table-top.
We always lost, however hard we watched
When Uncle Bert ran out of tricks he’d joke
‘Bet you’ll be glad to see the back of me’
He gave his skin the slip and ceased to be.
Where had he gone? I couldn’t understand
Gone from the room without his coat
A slick and shocking sleight of hand.
Now you see him. Now you don’t.