Late morning, rain on the roof

Last year I wrote a poem for a contest. The poem had to be inspired by one of the pieces that would be played at the BBC Proms, the eight-week series of classical music concerts held in London each summer. I chose Carl Nielsen's Clarinet Concerto, op. 57. Then, once I'd finished the poem, I read the small print and realized that I wasn't eligible, as I'm not a UK resident. I'm moving to England in June, though, so I'll try again this year. In the meantime, here's the poem, just for you. (NB My husband's name is not Stan. I don't iron anyone's underwear.)

Late morning, rain on the roof

Late morning, rain on the roof,

a little on the windows.

Stan’s finished shaving but hasn’t dressed.

The smell of coffee drags me to the kitchen

but he’s gone.


I know this game.


I tiptoe through the dining room and find him

in the den, fingering his LPs.

I slide a pinky down the bumps of his back

then he’s off around the coffee table.

It’s the size and shape of a sprawling man,

and it makes for more interesting chasing

than a square.

Thirty years into our union,

Stan’s footwork’s still fancy.


I laugh. I try not to screech.

I screech. I gallop up the stairs

behind the blousy old boxers I sometimes iron.

The wind picks up. We know this swirl.

We slow down, we speed up, we dissonate.

His teeth hurt my lips without wounding.

We resolve.


Stan’s snores growl in the mattress springs,

and my lungs keep time.