Column 03

There’s a fashion for making titles serve as the first line of a poem, which can sometimes come across as a little knowing. However, this poem by Mel Pryor uses the technique brilliantly, and then follows it up with a subtle poem that captures the complexity of the give and take of relationships. The poem is in Pryor’s collection Small Nuclear Family published by Eyewear Publishing.


After the business of oversleeping, I apologise,

but I wish you could’ve known sleep like that,
and I was sure, for an hour or so, you were there,
deep in the dip by my side, curved loosely
round my body like a petal, your arm
above the pillow where it always is, your hand
touching my dream of Far Skerr dunes,
clouds over Lindisfarne streaked with light,
and I could’ve sworn it was your mouth on my face
that woke me, pulled me from my ammonite curl,
kissed me all the way downstairs only to find
you’d gone with your coat and your foot-stamp,
leaving that long-suffering look of yours
stuck to the fridge door with a magnet.


Used with kind permission of Mel Pryor and Eyewear Publishing.