For Jean Walden
I am cutting your name out of the clothes you used to own
when you could own things. They make a modest pile.
I work in silence, listen to the scissors and to your daughters
making arrangements for your funeral.
These cardigans and scarves will hold the smell of you
until someone washes them. I am folding them slowly, gently
like the bundle of your names in marker pen or stitched tape
on the table next to me. A nest.
When I have finished, I will take that cradle of thread
in my hands. Its fibres will tickle my warm skin.
I will carry it to the window and, whatever is inside of it,
with this delicate and tender care, I will release.
Luke Palmer’s debut pamphlet, Spring in the Hospital, won the Prole Pamphlet Competition in 2018. He won third prize in the Winchester Poetry Competition this year, and his debut YA novel, Grow (Firefly Press), will arrive in July 2021.