SPOTLIGHT: All Island No Sea by Chris Campbell

The Morning You Threw Wet Socks
as We Argued Over Bagels

I pick a wet sock from the foot
of our front door, wide open.

The morning’s bagel still hangs
in the air, brings sweetness

to a sour room. I swear in thick summer
breath – angry words reverberating

around half-packed boxes. Cat scratches
at cardboard. Not now. My hair aches;

I snatch another damp sock. Then
I’m supposed to close the door forever.

Just the smell of a bagel to remember
all the times we danced.

Plant My Old House

I plant my old house throughout with plum
pits piled on raspberry seeds and watch them grow,
breaking oak stairs; every step smashing in rows,
ready for angry feet. As night comes

our kitchen huddles in corners, where toes
and thumbs once scratched, now covered in fat jam
stains; flattened raspberries squashed with small hands,
splat on the wall where my self-portrait lies –

all reds and pinks and sweet with seeds
in every crevice. But this new decor
of rose will glow in the great light no more (for me) –
I must leave this home, let others feed:

no matter the great heights you crave to climb,
every home has a roof to break in time.

Picking Olives

I watch an elderly neighbour wilt, through our kitchen
window’s frosted glass. A tracksuited teenager
offers her water. My muddy fleece matches
the communal garden opposite, your bump

almost bigger than our packed fridge, spitting
out the snacks you crave. I’m wearing my best
smile, making a joke so funny that drivers
on the road below rubberneck; the open freezer

door reveals family photos, holiday magnets. I wash
salad, prepare olives. You shriek, we’re clutching stomachs,
and I hear neighbours in the garden tearing up
roots. I’m viewing our lives from under our spot-

light; planting olive pits and watching you grow –
our little one kicking; changing life as we know.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s