Obituary – Tamsin Cottis


Subbing memories. Below the man.
Friends and lovers knew. In letters.
They told me. Your words and music.
Their children. You gave them.
Attention and time. I mined sentences.
Adapting. 87 years into 400 words.
Remembering. I imagined your pride.
Once. You said to newly published me.
The girl’s got it! I stored your words.
In my thesaurus of ways. To describe.
Love you mostly did not show or tell.
Cutting. Through the view of you.
At piano or desk. Back turned.
Hour after hour. I chipped at syntax.
Looking for you. Indent line-break edit.
Insertion omission errata. I made.
More from less. Though I lost you.
At the end of breath. I found you.
Dad. In the full stops.

Tamsin lives in east London. She is a child psychotherapist who has written widely about her work. Her poetry and short fiction has been published by, among others, Mslexia, Atrium, Rattle Tales, Flashback Fiction, Verve Poetry Press and Brittle Star. She is on twitter @tamsin cottis 

Shifts – Tamsin Cottis


I am almost Grandma, though myself
at twelve seems close enough to touch –
awkward body at the threshold;
still fond of dolls, unnerved
by the blood that speaks
of a real live baby,
now possible inside me.

My daughter is thirty now.
Startled, I hold her also in my mind
at two – our beauty. Picture her playing
at the sink; yellow sundress, fair curls
stuck with sweat to her neck,
thin cotton straps
across her perfect back.

I hope when the baby comes
I’ll be steady, kind, able to help.
I want a cot, ready in the spare room;
Bear Hunt, dusted, back on the shelf.
I hope for the chance
to bring my best love another time;
bring it unconfined.


Tamsin Cottis is a London-based child psychotherapist and writer. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck and her poetry and short fiction has been published by, among others, Mslexia, Rattle Tales, Verve Poetry Press and The Morning Star.

She is on Twitter @tamsin cottis