The room is decorated in muted colours,
a thick carpet to muffle the feet, a bed
outline softened under downy quilts.
She’d expected a blank room, a steel table,
a solemn figure behind a mask to draw
the white sheet back and uncover the face.
She didn’t expect the velvet armchair
angled close to the bedhead, a lamp
pooling subdued light over the pillow
which swelled like cumulus either side
of the quiet head. She didn’t expect
to see the arm laid over the quilt,
as if waiting for a hand to hold,
two rings shiny on her third finger,
a papery-white sleeve fluted at her wrist.
As if she should believe death is nothing
to concern us; as if it is temporary,
a hiatus to be easily mended.
Angela France’s publications include ‘Occupation’ (Ragged Raven, 2009), ‘Lessons in Mallemaroking’ (Nine Arches, 2011), ‘Hide’ (Nine Arches 2013) and The Hill (Nine Arches 2017). Angela teaches creative writing at the University of Gloucestershire and in various community settings. http://ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/the%20hill.html