Long listed for the WALKING HOME writing competition run in January & February 2022
We pluck petals from ox-eye daisies growing on the verges: he loves me, he loves me not. From the bruised stem, vitality bleeds onto my palm. I scrub at the khaki stain, at the pain of being rootless; half my life plucked by an unseen hand.
‘I’m too old for this nonsense,’ I say, shivering.
She tucks the tartan blanket snug around my legs and pushes me further along the path. From here I can see my chintz curtains and his photo, propped up in the gilt-edged frame on the sill. The hours I have lost, fingering the cut of his uniform, sharp as shears, and his victorious smile.
From the smallest seed comes the brightest flower he’d say, his ridged fingernails stiff with dirt. Even in his final hours, hope bloomed on his face.
My wheels catch on the weeds rebelling through gravel, as she twists me onto the driveway. I gasp as the jolt cracks up my spine.
‘Sorry,’ she says. ‘Worse than Asda’s trolleys.’
As she tilts me backwards, the sun kisses my face, the touch as tender as his.
We pass the lilies he nurtured in the raised bed by the front door. I brush them and let the pollen stick.
Read more from the Long List of poems and stories submitted to the WALKING HOME writing competition. Listen to winning authors read their work at a showcase event on Sunday 25 September 2022 (booking details to follow).
Itching to write something yourself? Submit a piece to our Shorelines project, and invite your friends to read it aloud. Join one of our creative writing workshops or keep up to date with all our competitions by signing up to our curated newsletter here.
Purchase a copy of WALKING 2022 – an illustrated anthology of poems and stories on the theme of “Walking Home” for €4.99+p&p (see image to the left) or go for a bundle of WALKING 2022 AND WALKING 2021 – a similar illustrated anthology of poems and stories on the theme of “Walking and Listening”- a bumper package of 27 poems and stories and save €1.50 (see image to the right). Purchase from our Shop.