I used to think my dad lived in that shed – our childhood
was his bald head bent over a latest project. Every Saturday
at 5 p.m. the transistor radio blared out the football results;
our cue to lay the table for tea. His private chapel,
a confessional that smelled of creosote, lawnmower oil
and hanging shallots. In winter the fermenting perfume
of stored apples made nostrils twitch, hid the tobacco smells
of his roll-ups, a foil for our own teenage puffs.
Until the night the roof blew off and all its secrets became
public – the radio soggy and silent, saws and rakes hanging
at an odd angle on unsteady walls, his boots full of rainwater.
Nothing was the same after that – private thoughts stayed
in the head. When the new roof went on even the shed protested,
creaked and whispered to spiders – some things can’t be reclaimed.
Valerie Morton returned to poetry after a long break and in the last ten years her poetry has been published in various magazines. She was runner up in the 2011 Essex Poetry Festival. In 2012 she won first prize in the Ver Poets Ten Liner competition. She has appeared online in Ink, Sweat and Tears and The Poetry Shed. In 2011 she completed an OU degree which included Creative Writing, and since then has run a Creative Writing Group with a local mental health charity. She is a member of Ver Poets and her poems have also appeared in three anthologies to raise funds for charity. Mango Tree (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2013) is her first collection.