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After the Storm


sunshine on late roses,
a queue of swallows on the wire,
the sky washed clean and spread to dry:
she finds his gloves in the hall-table drawer:
leather moulded to the curl of his palms.

The smell of him.
Left, right, she draws them on.
Key deep in one pocket, jar in the other,
she gathers boots, lead, walking-stick.
The spaniel dances at the door.

On the hill the wind shakes leaves
and jackdaws out of the sycamores.
Her coat flaps flightless wings.
She climbs until the sea
rises into sight, a flake of silver.

The dog bounces through heather.
Clouds hurry into the east.
Her gloved hands unscrew the lid
and tilt the jar. The last of his dust
streams out on the wind.


Written in the Quantock Hills of West Somerset.
First prize, Poetry Space Competition 2015.

John Siddique’s report

 This poem is poignant and truthful. I love the images in it, the key in the pocket, the flapping coat. As soon as I read this poem I knew it was a winner. This is a poem that will stay with me, for all the best reasons. I feel like I met the people in this poem, and its story is delivered with grace and love.

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