Silence stands in the hallway all night
says she doesn't need to sleep.
In the morning she is in the chair
Sometimes she smiles
and I think she gave me the dream
about meeting Dolly Parton for the soundcheck.
Sometimes she is so aloof
I imagine she sent me the handless mob
lumbering towards me,
bloodied boxing gloves
where fingers should have been.
She has birdsong in her
sends the call of a bittern
to make me laugh
after she has taken me to the darkest silence.
Once she tapped me on the shoulder
at 3 a.m., handed me the car keys
got in the car with me
and directed me to a forest.
She took me over a stile
to the darkened path
where we could not see our feet
and the bumps and gnarls of roots
sat under the mud.
Before my eyes adjusted
she stopped me
stood with me
to hear the last owl
and the first blackbird.
Once she wrote me a note
folded it and put my name on it
so she could watch me open it
I am your shadow, it said
in a spidery hand.
Her drawings tattooed the page –
a tarnished axe,
a holly bush, all its leaves on the ground,
and a coffin.
Sue Finch lives with her wife in North Wales. Her first collection will be published in Autumn 2020 with Black Eyes Publishing UK. Her Twitter link is @soopoftheday.