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Monotony of hotel rooms
clings to my clothes, and eyelids fall.
Little scented bottles stare.
White synthetic ‘home from home’
dressing gown
swamps me.
Bathed and airconditioned
I, tired, sleep.

Fixed in a fossilised spasm
lines exaggerated;
an old woman’s walnut face.
Knots are twisted and set deep
Like gnarling fists.
I dream.
Ingrained, the centre of the wood is pure
But sea and sand,
the traveller’s curse
and synchronic waves
Assume a crumpled structure.
Long-necked and sleek-bodied
Slendering wingtips tapered like a scalpel.
Coiled into a cruel mistake.

Slumberly I wonder
At my folded self
Bag Sagging Back Cracking
Shoulders Moulded
Feet Sore Foot Sore.

please vacate your room by ten a.m.


Vicki Northern is more commonly known as Ermintrude or Paradox, due to a daisy chewing habit and having odd friends. Her favourite things include watermelon pip spitting contests, quoting The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and playing unaccompanied Bach. She doesn’t like riding rickshaws down the wrong side of a dual carriageway, aeroplane curries, or the beeping sound microwaves make when they have finished cooking. She spent her childhood in East Africa learning to avoid rabid dogs, cycling through national game parks and wearing flip-flops. She reads anything she can get her hands on, mostly due to the fact that she has never had a television. She writes poetry and fiction. Now she lives in Guernsey and wants to be Postman Pat when she grows up.

© 2008, Vicki Northern

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