Lately she’d promised not to paddle in the sea
or ride her bike, instead she stayed inside,
pill packets left in rows on the dressing table.
A stickler for no waste – pulverised left-overs,
stewed teabags squeezed to feed cuttings,
calendar pictures made into thank you cards.
She made collages from dried fish bones, tops
of poppy heads, toothpaste tops shaped
as rocks – green splintered glass as forest trees.
In summer months she’d drive down south;
whole mornings in her Morris Minor, driving
on A roads, B roads, sandwiches and flasks of tea.
She’d sit with grandchildren on her knee
playing games with words in a Collins Graphic
English Dictionary – spelling out the impossible.
I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised,
a shrill voice enquiring ‘are you next of kin?’
We couldn’t find our map, like us, it was missing.
The Call by Audrey Ardern-Jones was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2017) judged by Abegail Morley.
I’ve pencil-sketched threads of light
across a black-blue sky
spread from a crack on the horizon
of a restless ocean;
I’ve veined in lit rivulets
across a summer moon
and the intricate splinters of saffron glass
in the eye of a caged eagle;
I’ve mixed cadmium pale yellow
with cerulean for the inside tone
of a portrait, used Windsor lemon
and cobalt violet for filigrees of an iris;
but it’s the blind girl I met in Waitrose
with tinted glasses that I want to paint
her air of something
I could neither touch nor know.
Sight Beyond by Audrey Ardern-Jones was commended in the Sentinel Annual Poetry Competition 2015 judged by Afam Akeh
Lion in Chingola
strangers surround him,
touch his lifeless paws; I hold my father’s hand,
watch the bare-chested men
wipe their shotguns – expect his mouth to open,
to roar, to eat me up:
he lies centre stage in a bungalow lounge,
no bones, no flesh, a mouth with no tongue;
I stroke his quilt of beige-gold skin, uli musama*
tail-swipe my brother poking sixpences
through bullet holes:
outside, men slash sun-burnt grass,
inside my mother sleeps, curtains drawn
another migraine, the air dense.
*he’s beautiful (Bemba)
Audrey Ardern-Jones. 2nd prize August 2015