Sometimes they sleep in
though the daylight is broad.
Two young people on a single mattress
under the bridge, the quilt up to their chins
still as dolls,
heads touching, black hair intertwined.
Sometimes the bed is empty,
quilt pulled back—and they are gone.
Pigeons on the girders, orange eyed,
nod and coo, a fluttering of feathers.
A bus brakes, each passenger absorbed
in their own music.
People’s feet splash by through puddles.
They glance down at a bed in the open
scuffed, dirty, damp
as they emerge from the bridge
to catch their connection.
Janet Hatherley’s debut pamphlet, What Rita Tells Me, was published May 2022 (Dempsey & Windle). She has poems in Under the Radar, Stand and others, won third prize in Second Light competition and was highly commended in Ver competition.
One thought on “The mattress – Janet Hatherley”
Spare. Sparse. Clearly relayed. Perfect imagery to convey the scene, esp the addition of the auditory cooing pigeons and the bus brakes. Very cinematic to look down at the empty mattress. Thank you, thank you, thank you,