The Tything, 8.57am on a Wednesday – S.A. Leavesley

The Tything, 8.57am on a Wednesday

It isn’t the red shoes with red
heels and matching red handbag.
It’s the way she simply steps out
and the traffic parts. She walks tall,
elegant, ear to her phone. Her dark
ponytail is a swinging pendulum –
controlling time in this moment.
Tick, tock, tick. Car and bus engines
slow to silence as she crosses.
Not a glance to her left or right,
as if no other possibility than all motion
around her will stop. In her world,
a narrow path through dense forest.
A woodland coppice pooling sunlight
and shadows. Birdsong pauses.
Trees listen for her skipping feet.
A single autumn leaf slips free.
Something rustles. Wolf whistles
start to form in hot exhaust pipes.
Engines rev. Hands hover over horns.
She jaunts up the kerb and stone steps
towards her glass reflection, pushes open
the swing-door, and vanishes.
The traffic slinks on.

 

S.A. Leavesley is a poet, fiction writer, journalist, photographer, editor. Her latest books are: ‘How to Grow Matches’ (Against The Grain Press) and ‘plenty-fish’ (Nine Arches Press), both shortlisted in the International Rubery Book Awards. Her website is at www.sarah-james.co.uk.

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But – S. A. Leavesley

But

The edge isn’t just the bridge, cliff,
embankment, train track, that last…

It’s trying to hindsight the line where
‘going to’ would become gone.

Should I have known, did I miss
the signs, why didn’t I guess?

Each question is a guilted knife
sharp against my mind’s wrist.

Invisible lines cut: he’s on the edge,
but all of us are falling.

 

S.A. Leavesley is a poet, fiction writer, journalist, photographer, editor. Her latest books are: ‘How to Grow Matches’ (Against The Grain Press) and ‘plenty-fish’ (Nine Arches Press), both shortlisted in the International Rubery Book Awards. Her website is at http://www.sarah-james.co.uk.

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: www.sarah-james.co.uk.

Dear Clent – S.A. Leavesley

Dear Clent
 
Mist unfolds from your slopes’
envelopes of valley and sky.
Above winter peaks, the black script
of trees and bird flight.

My faltering steps
and words overshadowed
by the wind’s stone-swept stutters,
lost in crackles of fern and bracken.

Past snatches of nettle burn,
Sunday morning legs, summer sweat
and vista-slapped gasps –
moments

un-landscaped
yet shaping the knit of my bones.
Distilled from your hills’ daily moods
and light filtered through leaves,

a sense of peace, essence of me.
It should be easy – to keep
in touch, write home with love,
remember,

return…maybe.
Like this land, I’ve learned to live
with distance, and never sign off
without leaving

something hanging –
a raindrop, a branch, a ledge
at the edge, in hope
of a steady handhold.

 

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: www.sarah-james.co.uk.