Every Time I Pack a Case I Cry

TAMSIN COTTIS

I uncouple
from the preparing of my trunk.
I do not get on board
with the choosing of tuck,
the sewing of nametapes,
the stowing of an extra blanket for my bed.
My train set fills the floor.
While you are busy packing
I decide to stage a crash. A landslide
is triggered, derailment follows,
then crossed signals, fractured
lines, lost children.
You fold my pyjamas
and press my ties.
Roll all my socks
into tight grey balls.
To save on space I wear my blazer,
worry at the silk lining

with finger and thumb
in the taxi back to school.
A screen slides shut
inside my head,
a fire is damped.
Home shunts into a siding,

‘Every Time I Pack a Case I Cry’ was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2017)