Recovery Room


When I returned I was different. I was cold all the time,

wore wool against my skin. The shock of the cold


carried with me into summer. I could not leave the two bar

heater; the layers plied on. Some fear came up with me


in the recovery room, where my teeth chattered and the nurses

hurried to find a blanket of foil; leant in to monitor my eyes.


I think I left something no lost and found can contain

under the desk, or behind the locked door where no mouth can ask


for a red umbrella or gaily checked scarf.

I wandered around in hats and long velvet skirts, black


to keep the heat. I bundled up and my doctor said, ‘You’re so thin

there’s nothing of you.’


And he said later, ‘They’ll put you in a ward and shock you.’

And that shocked me.


And later I saw him driving a yellow Volkswagen, top down,

with children in the back licking ice creams.





3rd place winner in The Troubadour Poetry Prize 2014 – judged by Neil Astley and Amy Wack.











They don’t do it anymore,

breathe into the mouth to save.


We had learnt it reluctantly,

lined up beside a recumbent dummy,


waiting to take our turn to kneel at that mouth.

The simplest things disturb –


at night when the fluoros shut off and the cover is pulled,

the tiles swabbed – there it lies open,


not even a ventriloquist’s dummy

is so exposed.





2nd place winner in The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2015 – judged by Tristram Fane-Saunders and Holly Howitt-Dring.