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2 poems by Sarah Westcott

Wet Roses

Winter light falls low across the table,

a boy, a cup, a bowl of grain,

his small, working jaw.

His ears move as he chews,

flesh opening to sweetness.

I light a candle -

the flame is small and sure to burn,

what more?

The leaves, their fret-work,

fanned decay, and the low dome of cars.

The day begins to unpeel its coat,

combs through it for fleas, eats them.

Squirrels are dry, despite the squalls

and the pond is full; brimming.

Clouds put out their light, some jammed storm

sent scudding and I write to you

of these wet roses,

how their heads hold all this in.


I was a text worker in a blue-tiered building. I dreamt

I carried a roast chicken in my bag and it leaked onto the desks.

I played a thin, reedy tune most could understand, I danced to it for money,

simplifying and intensifying. It was always seasonal.

Below that language, its strong-flavoured tails,

was a heart inside a heart, a many-chambered gun.

I looked at the weather frequently - the sky a cloth.

And when it was time to leave (I had been told to go)

I spent some time alone

erasing my own work, that meticulous data with its ebonies and squares,

shaping the words into another voice, under some other self of mine

as the weather went on with its endless, responsive

feedback loops. I was two of us making a third space —

a forest I stepped into, the fur on my arms lifting.


Sarah Westcott’s pamphlet, Inklings, was a Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice and

Slant Light (Pavilion Poetry), was highly commended in the Forward Prize. Her second collection, Bloom was long-listed in the 2022 Laurel Prize for eco-poetry. She is currently working on poems about a newly-dug garden pond.


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