Alison Lock writes poetry, short fiction, and creative non-fiction – the author of two short story collections, five collections of poetry, and a novella. Her work has been published in many literary magazines and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Her latest poetry collection is Unfurling (2022) Palewell Press. Her work focuses on the relationship of humans and the environment, connecting an inner world with a love of nature through poetry and prose.
It’s a simple swing, two ropes thrown over a branch,
a wooden plank for a seat, the grass beneath
scuffed into the mud.
A woman comes out of the kitchen.
She takes a photo of the swing.
‘It’s for my daughter,’ she explains. ‘She would love it here!’
Her daughter is nine years old; she is far away,
living in another country with her grandmother.
I look at the swing through the mother’s eyes. I see
the girl, how her long legs kick out, and, as she climbs
higher and higher, she pulls back, then forward
again, until her feet touch the under-branches of the tree.
Her clothes flutter, goosebumps rise on her arms,
wind rushes through her open sandals.
Wearing your bee-like cloak, a builder’s mask,
you work all through summer, your task,
to build for your Queen a spittle-spit nest.
In your final days you’re August’s pest –
around my face – neck, lips, ears – you are pissed
on life’s decay, slow-fused, your wings half-list
in a blundering search while you feed free
on the over-ripe fruits fallen from the apple tree.