Out of Place
……………Your ornaments sit
bunched up on the windowsill,
the conch shell resting on a fluted plate,
the goose tangling with the teapot.
……………….Your photo –
a smile from a shingle beach,
faces away. Some other shots of us
have slid right down the mantelpiece –
we are in disarray,
too close, no room to look our best.
You hated anything
out of place.
………………… I found your negligée
with a silky camisole – kept one
and bagged the other.
…………….I’ll dress one night as you,
wear your weighty beads and bracelet,
I’ll stretch my lips across my teeth,
………..half open my mouth,
apply red lipstick in a compact mirror –
the way you did,
then fold a tissue,
imprint my lips in carmine,
and hold it up for you to see.
CHRISSIE GITTINS was born in Lancashire and lives in London. Her first adult poetry collection is Armature (Arc, 2003). Her second is I’ll Dress One Night As You (Salt, 2009). Her three children’s poetry collections are all PBS Choices for the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf and two were shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award. Chrissie has recorded her children’s poetry for the Poetry Archive. Her ‘New and Collected’ children’s poems ‘Stars in Jars’ will be published by Bloomsbury in February 2014.
Chrissie’s short story collection is Family Connections (Salt, 2007). Her plays for BBCR4 include Starved for Love (starring Patricia Routledge), Life Assurance (starring Sorcha Cusack), and Dinner in the Iguanodon.
Chrissie tutors and runs workshops for the Arvon Foundation, Able Writers, Authors Aloud and the Poetry Society. Her residencies have included twelve Southwark primary schools, Croydon Libraries, Maidstone Borough Council, the Refugee Council and Belmarsh Prison. In 2010 she was appointed first honorary Writer-in-Residence in Lewisham.