For 364 days he was the lingering smell
of breakfast as I woke,
tartan slippers tucked under a chair –
and by the front door his Sunday hat.
His was a muffled voice below me at night;
the drifting smell of cigarette
my passport to sleep. But once a year
at Midnight Mass, he was mine.
As echoes of church bells hung on cold air
we’d stop on top of the hill
above the drifting scent of cinnamon
and oranges. And through the sleeve
of my coat I could feel him – warm.
First published in Reach Poetry
Valerie Morton’s work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies in the UK and USA. She has two collections published by Indigo Dreams Publishing – Mango Tree (2013) and Handprints (2015).She has taught Creative Writing at a mental health charity and since 2016 has been Poet in Residence at the Clinton Baker Pinetum in Hertfordshire.