Susan Utting – Two Poems

The Tree


Because the tree has gone, there is a flood

of light across the floor, there is a view

of roofs and backyard fences shouldering

the weight of whose-is-whose. Because

the tree’s been taken while I wasn’t there –

there was no chainsaw screech, no fluster

and coo of tetchy pigeon, no easy rhyme for

one for sorrow – the tree’s a gap, a lost tooth,

a solitaire unstuck from its old gold claws.


Because the bedroom’s lost its summer

flicker, its winter scratch, is soaked in

daylight/streetlight, unstoppable by drape

or slatted blind. Because there is no memory

of the tree’s going, I cannot, will not sleep.



What Remained


After she died we stripped the bed,

shook out the sheets and they fell

like rice at an old-fashioned wedding.


They cornered her dressing-gown

pockets – never a core or a stalk –

nothing but apple pips, dulled by

the dark, still holding their centres,

their flavour of almond, of cyanide.


And when we readied the body,

washed what was left of the woman

she’d been, we picked out brown seeds

from between her toes, from under

the claw of her curled toes, and one,


flattened, split to its ivory heart,

stuck fast to the sole of her left foot.


Susan Utting is based in Berkshire and is the author of several poetry collections. Her website is at