Although you chase me
up the stairs laughing
and tickle me as I hide
behind my door frightened,
your hand up my nightdress,
and you send me a Valentine
of a man baby holding a heart
over his genitals, and he’s blushing
and the card is saying,
and although you visit me years later,
and we’re admiring the roses
in Greenwich Park and the bees
on the flowers, and you’re saying,
Be careful, they’re going to pollinate you,
and in the back of the cab you tease me,
The driver will think I’m your beau,
(although excuse me, you’re 80),
you are my father.

Published in ‘The Plumb Line’ 2022

I sing as your body shuts down,
watch the doors of your mind
fly off their hinges
a white sun pulsing through your eyes,
your chest an alembic,
gathering you with each breath you suck in,
I witness your birth as you die
as you drag on your last breath, elated,
finally fully alive
and you don’t expire, but hold
the breath and take wing
as I gaze into your brilliant face on the bed
not knowing you’ve left, mesmerised.

Shortlisted for The Wells Festival of Literature Open Poetry Competition 2021

We are chugging to your death
on the panting rhythm of your breath.

I crush lavender buds under your nose –
you open your mouth like a baby bird.

You sleep with eyes wide, gaze turned in.
I see into depths without being checked.

On day three your eyes rise to the surface.
Your lips are moving. I lean in.

You’re hopeless! you hiss.
You are the death adder, Acanthophis.

I flee your bedside. You slip back
into your body’s fevered decoupling.

First published in Envoi 

Ahead of me the trunk sways
like a coffin down the corridors.

My parents heave it up the stairs,
drop it onto the dormitory floor.

A crater opens between us.

Retracing our steps, I see them off
at the school entrance –

turn back to unpack my loss.

Stuff it into drawers under my allotted bed,
hang it limp in the dark of communal wardrobes.

That night I lie in a row of girls
with no walls on either side
to stop me from falling

First published in Allegro magazine