Three poems by Nadia Kingsley

On your loss

For David


The sleeve of your shirt is turned inside out
and you, without choice, reach
with your flesh and bone
into its tunnel
to the frayed cuff that circles
those bottomless monsters
then inch it all back
towards the world.


Later it is time
for more endless lying down
time that used to replenish.
You oh so carefully fold
what you have worn, life-long,
what despite it all you still care for.
When morning comes round
the sleeve of your shirt is turned inside out



Have you seen this boy?

For Sue Challis


This boy is six years.
His skin is like the milk he drinks.
Not even the sun dares tarnish it.

Undeveloped, I found him
rolled up: a nineteen eighties negative
waiting for me to move.

Look at how his small fingers curve,
the protruding belly of youth,
his curved back; look at how

even when I try to hold him in art
he slips, he fades, refusing to be fixed
despite that extra layer of varnish.

I still have that plain vase,
the cushion, the chairs, the green jug –
but the boy has gone, which leaves me

wondering what he was thinking –
this boy, now man, who always calls me
Mum… and me – left wishing


Sheep in Snow                

For Lis


It’s like a fresh page unsullied
It’s like colour’s an unnecessary construct
It’s as if it’s always been
It’s like dawn – when the rods of your eyes

Are what keep you alive.
It’s as if you’ve discovered you are always a child
You just hide it sometimes, and that
Snow turns the world anticlockwise.

All sound is muffled.
You watch the sheep watching you.
You want to be one of the flock
For look at your hat, gloves, scarf.

Everything about you holds its breath
It’s like the shutter speed of life is on infinite.
It’s like you’re folded into the web of time.
But still, you are the first to move.

As you walk away you say to yourself
All that sheep are interested in is their own survival.
But deep down – you now know the truth.
The sheep shake themselves out, behind you.


Nadia Kingsley



Nadia Kingsley is a poet and artist living on the West Midlands side of the border with Wales. She has collaborated with David Calcutt on the pamphlets Road Kill and Through the Woods. She has worked with poet Emma Purshouse, musician Giancarlo Facchinetti and astrophysicist Prof Trevor Ponman on e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g: the History of the Universe in 45 minutes – a performance in a mobile planetarium dome.

She owns Fair Acre Press and is a member of Writing West Midlands’ Room 204 scheme for emerging writers. Her work will feature in a group art exhibition in Qube Gallery, Oswestry called Painting by Pixels in August.

Banner image: Andrew_Writer

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