Sally Long – Clearing Out

Clearing out

The paper shredder hums then judders to a halt. I curse and check the paper feed. I’ve miscounted and fed in six sheets. Now the shredder is well and truly jammed. I tug at the paper but it tears in my hand making the situation worse. I switch the shredder on again and turn it to fast in the hope of clearing the paper. It remains static. I put the machine into reverse and to my relief the paper begins to move. With a small amount of coaxing the mangled sheets are released. I turn the shredder back to forward and try to tempt it with a single sheet of paper. Nothing happens. I swear again. Clearing out ready for my move had been going well: now I will have a thirty minute delay while I wait for the shredder to cool down.

I turn on the TV. A politician speaks about “strong, proven leadership.”  She promises “a country that works not for the privileged few but that works for every one of us.” A vision of a future where there can be no going back, “Brexit means Brexit.” I zap her with the remote and step through my patio door into the garden.

Bare feet leave their tracks
scarlet hollyhocks bow down
unexpected rain

Sally Long has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East London and is a PhD student at Exeter. She has had poems published in magazines including Agenda, , Ink, Sweat and Tears, London Grip, Poetry Salzburg Review, Snakeskin and The Stare’s Nest. Sally edits Allegro Poetry Magazine .

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