S.A. Leavesley – three poems

Pinpointing My Centre of Gravity

Eyes closed and shoulders rested on the pilates ball,
I crab-walk my feet out, then lift one leg, extend it.

Muscles tremble as I tilt with and against my weight.
Wobble. Resist the temptation to peek. Wobble.

I’m not Atlas. It’s just an inflated sphere and I’m only
balancing myself. But, senses alert, body suspended,

I think of him…and the world shifts. I feel myself falling.

The Office Fridge Dreams

It does, you know. I’ve heard it sigh
into the silence of cold early mornings –
as deep a sound as the puff and pant
of compressed lungs on a hot day.

Though butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth,
behind its closed door, it dreams
of wilder things than limp carrots, tears
for spilt milk, its current lack of a six pack…

and yes, someone has eaten all the plums!
Imagine colleagues that aren’t appliances, a salary
not celery, richer treats than cheesecake, a sky
that isn’t white with days mostly dark as night….

in short, a life of more than emptying and filling,
emptying and…the fridge dreams.

Left Behind

His last present to her – a jar of octopus in oil
‘handmade in Devon’ – still guards its kitchen shelf.

Mum’s prized champagne flutes collect dust
and a dead spider that’s shrunken to an artefact.

In a silver photo frame, her grand-daughter’s
dancing: a white pirouette paused behind glass.

A cherub, unpreserved by any glaze, flakes feathers
of dry clay, while the chipped Lladró lady stares down

from the highest shelf, as we sit round the table
passing banter and sharing jokes. As at his wake,

we scatter crumbs and sip the last dregs of red wine,
knowing the empty bottle will hold a fine candle.

S.A. Leavesley’s latest collection is plenty-fish (Nine Arches Press, 2015 – published as Sarah James). Winner of the Overton Poetry Prize 2015, a pamphlet Lampshades and Glass Rivers is forthcoming from Loughborough University.

Sarah’s website is at sarah-james.co.uk


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