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Ceinwen Haydon


Under the bed in our spare room,
a tiny cubby of a place, I wriggle
on my belly, breathe in dust
to reach for a box of old diaries,
secrets coded from my teenage years.

A clutch of battered tomes, safely
stashed long ago. As I’d stowed them
with care, you’d mocked me, sneered,
Stupid, you’ll never read them again.
And I haven’t. My fingers extend,

I touch the cardboard carton, but
can’t quite grasp the flap to pull
it out towards me. I try again,
my stiff shoulder and elbow ache
with effort. My sacroiliac joint
screams. I lock, foetal, stuck

and take a break. At rest, I try
to stretch gently. My cheek
touches fabric. In shadow-light,
I see a woollen ball. It's yours.
A single hiking sock: rough,
mildly perfumed with old sweat
and fungal aromas. I forget
my journals and recall the day
you left me on misted Snowden
to find my own way
Alone, slow,
Five months pregnant
with our first child.

Yet, I stayed with you, tried hard
to make it work. Now, you’re dead,
I’m free to be me. Diaries can wait.

Slowly, I slither out of confinement,
emerge and find my own two feet.
Though I’m old, it’s not too late.

Bio: Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon [MA Creative Writing, Newcastle 2017]

Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She is a Pushcart and Forward Prize nominee and her first chapbook, 'Cerddi Bach' (Little Poems), was published by Hedgehog Press in She is developing practice as a participatory arts facilitator, mainly with elders and believes everyone’s voice counts.

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