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Louise Peterkin: a poem

Ines and the flood

A committee clustered like an opulent brooch the day the river broke its banks after days of hard rain. A vagrant caught roosting in the church-still rooms of the old Jamieson place. His face at a window startled the children. Now everyone was gunnin' for the guy.

I had bigger fish to fry. Was heading over to Ernest's to give him a piece of my mind. Old bastard had reneged on my promotion. "Ines", he'd cooed over the phone, "it was never a foregone conclusion."

My march was affirmed by the endless torrent and lush shrubs cupping fauna like ornaments. A military beat thundered in my mind. I thought my rage would crack in my throat like glass. As I tried to pass the town hall, the women harried me inside. "Ines", they hissed, "we need a united front on this."

I seethed. What harm was he doing? Place had been empty since March. Leave him be. Oh I knew how they thought of me: scrabbly ol' doodle, colours over the edges, like something their kids had splatted out. Now they wanted me to join their bitter union. Well, you know what...

...down to Ernest's that's what, not to read him the riot act but to buy me a picnic his finest, rankest brandy a ripe cheese fat as a monk under a tree and a ham the size of a cello say hello to this newcomer he sounded alright just my type someone to sail away with like the owl and the pussycat when the rooms fill up and the furniture comes apart like pulled pork and there we'll be bobbing along fishing for jade faces we aren't sure is money or photographs Ines at sea

Ines in love

Ines, Ines in all that rapture!

Louise Peterkin is a poet from Edinburgh. In 2016 she was a recipient of a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust in the poetry category. She is the co-editor, along with Rob A. Mackenzie, of Spark: Poetry and Art inspired by the Novels of Muriel Spark (Blue Diode Press, 2018). She is an assistant poetry editor for The Interpreter's House. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including The Dark Horse, The Glasgow Review of Books, Magma and The North, and her first collection of poetry, The Night Jar, is soon to be published by Salt.

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