was a room behind a door at the topof a dark staircase, where those with
itchy pink spots, bad coughs, unstoppable
sobbing (and a girl called Muriel
who tipped a chamber pot
over her head) were taken.
I can’t remember why I was there,
but I remember feeling quite serene,
in a narrow bed with metal bars
and rough blankets, beneath a window
with no view except for the occasional bird
and clouds. No pictures, no books, no pencils.
Damp patches on the ceiling showed a camel,
a lacrosse stick, Jesus walking on the water.
I made a rabbit out of my hankie. I picked
at the scabs on my knees. I counted my sins.
I was a voice on the radio. Here is an important
announcement. At midnight the world will end.
Jennie Farley is a published poet, workshop leader and teacher. Her poetry has featured in magazines including New Welsh Review, Under the Radar, The Interpreter’s House, Prole and online journals. She has performed her work at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Swindon Poetry Festival, Bristol Poetry Revue, Cheltenham Everyman Theatre and local venues. She runs workshops at the Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery, and founded and runs NewBohemians@CharltonKings providing regular events of music, performance, poetry and workshops. Her collection My Grandmother Skating (Indigo Dreams Press) was published in 2016. Her new collection Hex (IDP) comes out in 2018.