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Now that it's all over

Frances Owen

I could fill a cauldron

with all the things that didn’t fit

in the last suitcase you took when you left

the things that are now more dead than alive

the things that are still using up

the space I need to live. In would go

the yellow jumper that unravelled on my needles

the spattered recipe book full of failed meals

the paint pots in the shed intended to cover up the fractures

the season ticket waiting for journeys you never made


I would add the fragments of the lies you told, the ripped up photos, the shattered glasses, the ruined rug, the soiled sheets, the weeping fig, the cat’s vomit, those skateboarding videos, the upturned bottles, the un-mown lawn, the bath on the second floor which has no plug, the layers of black soot in the chimney you promised to remove but didn’t


I will take the cauldron, wretched, battered and beyond repair

put it in the skip marked ‘Contaminated’

light the touch paper and as I turn and walk away, I shall breathe

Now retired from a career in public health, Frances Owen writes poems about the places she has lived in Africa, and on health issues, social justice and inequality. She is working on her first poetry pamphlet and a memoir. She workshops her poetry with Trowbridge Stanza and other writing groups and has been published in Dreich, the Ekphrastic Review, Lighthouse and Persimmon Tree.  She facilitates Writing for Wellbeing sessions with WEA and local community groups

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