We pushed through rosebay willowherb, tall steeples
of purple loosestrife: delighted in leaving thyme-
infused footprints on grass; in hordes of teasels,
caged and lilac-hazed. We embraced the sublime
grace of sunset: how it haloed single ears of corn,
flooded the fields with warm amber light; subsumed
the glow of naked skin. That evening, he warned
me not to answer back; resolved to needle
like wasps round wine. Clouds gathered and re-formed,
turned amethyst then slate. I knew it was time
to lie low, like violets in shade. After the storm
I noticed tendrils – purple, unperfumed –
twined about my wrists, a posy at my throat:
found flowers from my husband, newly-bloomed.
His car no longer sits upon on the drive:
he packed his things and quietly sped away.
I didn’t hear him go – I overlaid;
He’s heading back to Essex and his wife.
He’ll be an hour up his route as planned,
avoiding heavy Dartford Crossing queues
then on to home. He hasn’t had to choose
between his wife and me: I understand.
By 6am he’s home, his day begins:
he has routines to stick to, things to do
with people I don’t know, and plans to make
upon which I have no right to impinge.
A mother must deny yet trust anew
the bond that stretches taut but cannot break.
Julie Stamp lives just outside Dover in Kent. She has been published in print and online, including in South and Writers’ Forum, and online at Wild Words as winner of the Wild Words Writing Competition 2015. A selection of her poetry was also published in translation for Pro Saeculum arts magazine in Romania. She was shortlisted for Canterbury Poet of the Year in both 2013 and 2016.