The Appointment – Angela France

The Appointment

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

Hedgehog-hole – Angela France

Hedgehog-hole

You sawed holes in the fence
where the planks met the ground,
imagining how much space
spines need around a soft body.

A small wooden house
nestles under the rosemary, filled
with clean straw you scrabbled
loose from the solid pet-shop bale.

The wall along the side alley
where wind traps curled leaves
to heap on cracked slabs
is the perfect place

to leave cat food, never milk,
as dusk blurs rooftops and trees.
You don’t know whose hunger
clears the food by morning;

a neighbour’s cat, the dog-fox
on his rounds, or the sleek brown
tumble of rats, quickly clearing
the ground, stealing into shadow.

You always hope the hog-house,
cat food, fence-holes may be found
by the snuffling secrecies of the one
you saw in the garden two years ago.

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