Petit Déjeuner

The procedure is always the same. Wake softly, without stuttering,
then remove what you can of yourself to any left space downstairs.
A certain emptiness is waiting for you here. Occupy it. If you are
beginning to feel overestimated, don’t. There is the vase of roses,
and the pearl tablecloth, delivering themselves subtly to the room.
For once, there is enough colour. The interior relies on pigment.
Set up éclairs, lemon curd and water jugs informed of weight.
For the glassware to reflect. There is a suggestion of loose harmony.
The light has already been laid across the glass. From one side of it
two shadows watch. Wait patiently for the giving windows to adapt.
Meanwhile, note the corners. Steadily, the sun is revealing more.
You are more than halfway. Allow the silence to be inconsequential.
The day is yet to be curated from the ready-made dawn. For now,
this is all you have to distract you from the night still in your mind.
Remember me, sleeping upstairs. I am waiting. I am told to come.

Charlotte Rowland

Loose Threads and Tight Knits

I want to wear my father’s jumper again,
And feel it comfort away the years.
I, instantly smaller,
Watching long sleeves trail down behind me.
They are streamers,
On the handlebars of a childhood scooter.
Before it was customised,
Sprayed silver and black to block out the pink.

A woollen haven here blocks out day.
Inside it is always dusk, after a hot spell,
A sudden chill creeping into ones bones,
Despite flushed cheeks
And hand clasped fervently around a mug.

I want to wear my father’s jumper again
Become wrapped up in a more innocent frame of mind,
Picking off the bobbly bits
And spreading them before me

As daisies in a playground’s patch of grass,
Making jewellry for all occasions.

The age or label of the garment is irrelevant,
And as for size,
The more ill fitting the better.
Each sag of fabric creates more nostalgic caves to hide in.
Pulling it over my head at the end of the night,
I peek through loose-knit holes to a close-knit world
Of intermingled memories.

Once folded over the back of a wooden chair
It looks instantly distant and small.
Hollow arms can’t hug or move me.
And fabric left alone grows cold with inanimacy.

I want to wear my father’s jumper again
And be placed gently back into the bosom of a family.

Elspeth Vischer

Mother's Bed

'Strong as an altar' my Nan muttered
above wasp-striped tools
as we drove the final flashing screw into my mother's bed.

My mother's bed.
With its head-board of red oak,
rioja-dark and scarred
by fingernails
ribbed and brittle as tiny clams.

I could never understand
its sheets, yellow and liver-spotted
with coffee and old blood

and the tiny flecks of human that drifted around it.
Chanel No.5, Yves-Saint Laurent,
horse manuals, tarot decks
folded into drawers like mute babies.
Black two-piece suits from Next
with the texture of sandpaper
and in six different sizes.

Now all I have is this bed
crouched among
stacks of books,
business cards
of bars, paper lanterns, Rimmel eyeliner,
statues of Thai elephants and Russian cats,
plastic flowers and Ibizan fans,
Golden Virginia, Basics vodka,
the green slips of dates and times
that arrange to meet the man.
With his rustling
and his grainy paper cups that wilt the lip

The bed buckles in his same shape,
still dilates in his wake.
The screwdriver slips from my hand,
splits the stains and cold and yellow and cracks of the
congenital bed.

Eleanor Beeby