All the Women Left – S.A. Leavesley

All the women left

Velveteened seats sprang back
like the thud of plush dominoes,
leaving the symphony hall quieter
than a shell which has forgotten
the sea, never dreamed of ocean
moonlight or the tide’s swell
and ebb. The auditorium’s
open mouth now missing half
its teeth. One man muttered,
“What the hell?” Others stared,
glanced around at each other,
shuffled their feet. Some shrugged,
then settled back in their seats.
The conductor rose, slowly,
unsteadily, began to move his arms
in a jolting black and white semaphore:
a violin started, stopped, started…
performance marked by an absence
of high notes and many silenced parts.


S.A. Leavesley is a poet, fiction writer, journalist, photographer, editor. Her latest books: ‘plenty-fish’ (Nine Arches Press, shortlisted in International Rubery Book Awards 2016) ‘Lampshades & Glass Rivers’ (Overton Poetry Prize 2015 winner) and a novella, ‘Kaleidoscope’. Her website is at:

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